Posts Tagged ‘ baby safety ’

Is Your Nursery Making Your Baby Sick?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

baby on new carpetWhen most of us were setting up baby’s nursery, there were certain things we knew to avoid: loose bedding, lots of toys in the crib, anything with sharp edges. But a new study has found one more potential no-no for baby’s room, at least during the first year of life: new carpet, rugs, or laminate.

According to an article in The Telegraph, researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany have discovered that the chemicals in the glue used to install brand-new flooring can be toxic for babies and make it difficult for them to breathe. Their study involved 465 moms and babies living in Leipzig, Germany, two-thirds of whom made some kind of renovation to their home and a sixth of whom replaced their flooring. During the home improvements, the scientists regularly assessed the babies’ breathing and monitored the air quality in their homes. The findings were published in the journal Environment International.

Though not all flooring requires glue — area rugs are a classic example — researchers still warn parents to hold off on laying down the new stuff in the nursery. “Although the concentrations of these volatile chemicals are lower if no adhesive is used when installing the flooring, even then the concentrations are still high enough to significantly increase the risk of infants suffering from respiratory complaints in their first few months,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ulrich Franck.

Pregnant women aren’t off the hook, either. UFZ researchers believe the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in new flooring and adhesives can affect developing babies in utero and even boost their chances of developing allergies, especially if you or your partner already suffer from conditions like hay fever or asthma.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study is to hold off on installing your new flooring until after baby’s first birthday. That’s because the study found that home improvements (and all the airborne chemicals associated with them) that occured after baby was born didn’t impact baby’s respiratory functions as much as ones that took place during pregnancy. “According to our results, exposure to these volatile chemical compounds seems to be more critical in pregnancy than in the first year of a child’s life,” says Dr. Irina Lehmann of he UFZ.

Tell us: How was your experience setting up baby’s nursery?

How safe is your baby’s gear? Check out our Products Recall database to find out. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Nursery Ideas: Design a Modern Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Modern Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Modern Nursery

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+

Image of baby on a carpet courtesy of Shutterstock

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Yikes! Toy-Related Injuries Are Up 40 Percent

Friday, December 5th, 2014

baby-playing-with-toyHave you finished clearing out the unsafe bedding your baby’s crib yet? Good — you should probably start going through the toy box next.

That’s because according to a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics, the number of toy-related injuries has jumped nearly 40 percent in recent years, based on statistics taken in emergency rooms between 1990-2011. To give you some perspective, there were roughly 3.2 million children who were treated in an ER for a toy-related injury during that time. Slightly more than half of those kids were under the age of 6.

What’s worse, experts believe those alarmingly high numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. “We know that’s an underestimate. We know that those numbers are increasing,” Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead researcher and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told CNN.com. “So it’s a call to action. We really do have a lot more work to do to provide safe toys for children.”

Ride-on toys, like scooters, were responsible for a big chunk of those hospital visits — 34.9 percent, to be exact. And based on the number of kids zipping around my neighborhood like Evel Knievel without a helmet, it’s not hard to see why. In fact, my colleague Diane Debrovner recently named it “the most dangerous toy.”

But the under-3 set is hardly in the clear. The number and the rate of toy-related injuries peaked around age 2, the study found. Products with small parts pose the biggest threat, since they’re a potential choking hazard. Recalled toys are also a possible issue. “For younger children, kids under 5, they spend most of their time in the home, and so it’s toys found indoors, in the home, that are the major source of injury,” Dr. Smith said.

Before you chuck the toy box out the window and cancel holiday gift-giving this year, know this: There are plenty of ways to keep your baby out of harm’s way. Stay up-to-date on recalled toys by checking Recalls.gov. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when assembling a toy. Only let baby play with toys that are age-appropriate. Inspect hand-me-downs for broken parts, sharp edges, magnetic or small pieces, and overall safety. And be there during playtime, so you can nip any potential problems in the bud. A little extra vigilance now can offer invaluable peace of mind down the road.

Is your baby’s gear safe? Find out by visiting our always up-to-date Toy and Product Recall Finder. And be sure to keep up with the latest baby news by liking All About Babies on Facebook.

Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do

Image of baby with toy courtesy of Shutterstock

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ICYMI: Graco Recalls Nearly 5 Million Strollers

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Graco made headlines yesterday when it announced a major recall of some 4.7 million strollers. The recalled models feature a folding hinge on the side that can pinch, cut, or even amputate a child’s finger. Graco has already received 11 reports of finger injuries, including six reports of fingertip amputation, four reports of partial-fingertip amputation, and one report of a finger laceration.

The models affected are: Aspen, Breeze, Capri, Cirrus, Glider, Kite, LiteRider, Sierra, Solara, Sterling, and TravelMate. They were sold between August 2000 through November 2014 at stores including Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, and online at Amazon.com and Walmart.com, among other online retailers. The stroller costs around $40-$70, and $140-$170 for the Travel System. All are single-occupant and feature an external sliding fold-lock hinge on each side and a one-hand fold release mechanism on the handle.

For a full list of the model names and numbers being recalled, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

If your stroller is on the list, the CPSC recommends you contact Graco immediately for a free repair kit, which will be available at the beginning of December. In the meantime, “caregivers should exercise extreme care when unfolding the stroller to be certain that the hinges are firmly locked before placing a child in the stroller. Caregivers are advised to immediately remove the child from a stroller that begins to fold to keep their fingers from the side hinge area.”

For more information, visit gracobaby.com or call (800) 345-4109.

Is your baby’s gear safe? Find out by visiting our Toy and Product Recall Finder. And be sure to keep up with the latest baby news by liking All About Babies on Facebook.

Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do

Image of Graco Breeze courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

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The One Mistake Most of Us Make When Leaving the Hospital

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Remember how nervous you were bringing your brand-new baby home? How you and your partner fretted over every bump in the road and gave the stink eye to any car that got within six feet of yours? How you wanted this maiden voyage — and every one after that — to be smooth, easy and, most importantly, safe?

Turns out, that first trip home from the hospital is often anything but, reports Today.com. According to a new study presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a whopping 93 percent of parents make at least one major error when installing their car seat or securing baby in it — and that’s before they’ve even left the hospital parking lot. The most common mistakes? A too-loose harness (68 percent), a too-low retainer clip (33 percent), and the wrong harness slot (28 percent). Meanwhile, in almost 70 percent of cases, there were issues with both baby’s positioning and the car seat installation.

The study, led by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, a professor of pediatrics at the Doernbecher Hospital at the Oregon Health and Science University, involved 267 randomly selected moms and babies who were in the hospital’s mother-baby unit between November 2013 and May 2014. As the women — or a third party — installed the car seat and placed the newborn in it, a certified child passenger safety technician watched and took notes of any mistakes. (The tech helped fix the errors before the new families drove away.)

As Dr. Hoffman points out, it’s all too easy for exhausted, overwhelmed new parents who have never actually used a car seat before to make some mistakes at first. “If you wanted to create the perfect storm for misuse, this would be it,” Dr. Hoffman said. “You take the most vulnerable person you could, a newborn, and the most vulnerable of caretakers, a family that has just had a baby, and you just take them to the door and just say good luck.”

But as any mom or mom-to-be knows, a car seat is only as good as its installation and use. That’s why Dr. Hoffman, himself a car seat technician, offered a slew of tips for rookie parents. They include: tightening the harness so you can’t pinch any slack between your fingers in the harness webbing; keeping the chest clip level with your baby’s armpit; adjusting the car seat at the correct angle; and securing the car seat with either a seat belt or lower anchors — but not both, unless your manufacturer says so. (You should also check out our car seat safety check article for more pointers.)

Of course, if you’re unsure — or too wiped out come the third trimester — you can always ask a car seat safety technician to inspect your handiwork or do the job for you. Each year, Safe Kids Coalition sponsors more than 8,000 free car seat safety events around the country, where on-hand experts will teach you the basics of installation and use. Or you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s online directory of car seat inspection stations. The peace of mind you’ll get during that first trip home is priceless.

Tell us: Did you install the car seat yourself or did you ask someone else to do it for you?

How safe is your baby’s car seat? Check out our Products Recall database to find out. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Avoid a Car-Seat Mistake
Avoid a Car-Seat Mistake
Avoid a Car-Seat Mistake

Image of baby in a carseat courtesy of Shutterstock

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New Wearable Baby Monitor Promises a Better Night’s Sleep (for You!)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Baby sleeping on backShow of hands: Who here has crept into the nursery in wee hours of the night just to make sure baby was still breathing? Count Arturas Vaitaitis (and me!) in the group, too. When his first son was born, he was, understandably, a nervous wreck. “I couldn’t sleep,” he says. “I would wake up at all hours of the night to check on him, and would end up waking him up in the process. I had to come up with a solution.”

Where you and I might invest in a baby monitor and call it a day, Vaitaitis, founder and CTO of Mondevices, went one step further to get some peace of mind. He created Monbaby, a battery-powered, wearable baby monitor that tracks sleep movements and breathing patterns in real time and streams the data to your cell phone. (You can also program the companion app to ping you in the event of certain situations, like if baby rolls onto his stomach in his sleep.) Monbaby is shaped like a button, but at 1.5″ x 1.5″ is too large to be a choking hazard. It attaches securely anywhere to your child’s clothes much like a security tag, so baby won’t be able to pull it off in the middle of the night. And according to the company, it uses Bluetooth low energy (LE) technology, “which is 100 times less than a radiation from a cell phone and 10 times less than from existing baby monitors on market.” But here’s what parents may appreciate most: Unlike nearly all of what you’ll buy for baby in the first year or two, the Monbaby can be used long after he’s out of the crib. Just attach it to an older kid’s shirt or pants and program the app to alert you if he falls or wanders outside a specified area.

Though the monitor isn’t available for sale yet — on Monday, MonDevices began its Kickstarter campaign to raise money for its production — you can get on a waiting list with a pledge of $89.

Personally, as much as I love my gadgets, I’m a little relieved wearable technology wasn’t around when my son was a newborn. While some of the details it captures is useful, other bits of data border on information overload. (I once read about a monitor that will tell you much light is in the nursery. Really? Can’t we just take a peek ourselves or pull down the shade?) I can see the value in a product like Monbaby — a better night’s sleep for mom and dad, for starters — and it’s certainly more affordable than some other monitors on the market. But I have to admit, I learned the most about my son — his natural rhythms, sleep habits and, yes, breathing patterns — by simply spending time with him. Which was way more rewarding than having a machine do the work for me.

Tell me: Would you put a wearable monitor on your baby?

Don’t know whether it’s a heat rash or eczema? Find out the probable causes and treatments of all of baby’s most common ailments with our Symptom Checker. And don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby news. 

Baby Sleep Safety: Reduce the Risk of SIDS
Baby Sleep Safety: Reduce the Risk of SIDS
Baby Sleep Safety: Reduce the Risk of SIDS

Image of sleeping baby courtesy of Shutterstock

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