Keep Your Baby Safe

Safe-Sitter Checklist

Don't take your eyes off her. Drowning is a leading cause of death among children, and with infants under a year, it most often happens in the bathtub. "Babies can drown in as little as an inch of water," says Kate Carr, of Safe Kids Worldwide. So have what you need ready, and if you leave the room, take Baby.

Shield him from scalding. Your child's sensitive skin is susceptible to burns. Set the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F, and retrofit your tub faucet with an antiscald device that automatically reduces the water flow to a trickle if it gets too hot, Carr says. Infants are comfiest in a bath that's 98 to 100 degrees F. Give the water a feel with your wrist or elbow before plunking him in.

Remember: Location is everything. It's safest to keep a hand on your baby at all times, and using a plastic basin may make that easier, says Nychelle Fleming, public affairs specialist for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Once your tot's sitting up on her own, shimmy her as far from your tub's faucet as possible, so she's unlikely to bang her head on the fixture. Face her away from the tub's knobs so she won't be tempted to turn them.

Get a good grip. Your babe's freshly scrubbed body is slippery -- more than you'd imagine. To lift him out of the tub, dry your hands and use a towel to hold him in your arms.

Lock up everything. When scrub time is over, empty any standing water from the tub and close the door to the bathroom, Carr says. And don't forget the toilet. Keep the lid closed or use a toilet-seat lock for the best protection.

Sleep safe

Find room in the budget for a crib. Get one that was built after June 2011, when new federal rules upped the safety standards. Cribs now undergo more rigorous testing; have stronger slats, mattress supports, and hardware; and have stay-put railings rather than a traditional drop-side, which can disengage and trap a child.

Adopt this motto: Less is more. Suffocation is the leading cause of accidental death in children under age 1, and 70 percent of accidents occur in bed. Limit the crib to a firm mattress and a fitted sheet -- no bumpers, sleep positioners, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, or other loose bedding.

Put her to sleep on her back. No matter what your mom did, your babe should be placed on her back. Once she begins rolling over, she can stay the way she lands, but you should still put her on her back at bedtime until age 1.

Don't add too many layers. Overheating can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You can bundle your cutie in one layer more than you're wearing, tops. If he's sweating or feels hot, change him.

Do a quick check for cords. At home or away, make sure there are no cords -- from a monitor, sound machine, or window coverings -- dangling anywhere near where Baby sleeps or plays. They pose a serious strangulation risk.

Babyproofing Your Home: Crib
Babyproofing Your Home: Crib

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