September is National Baby Safety Month, and here at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we’re celebrating with simple guides to avoiding childhood injuries, from car seat safety tips to heat injury prevention.
In this article, our Nashville legal team goes over one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of infant injury: babyproofing your house.
Why Is Babyproofing Your House So Important?
Especially in light of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, you and your baby are probably spending the vast majority of your time in your home. And although home is where most of us feel the safest and most comfortable, it’s this mindset—that most threats to your safety exist outside your house—that can lead to careless mistakes and avoidable accidents.Taking just a few precautionary measures can help make your home the safest place to be for you and your children.
Babyproofing 101: Where to Begin
The first thing you’ll need to do is zero in on the potential hazards in your home. Every living space is different, and may present unique challenges. Although safety checklists can come in handy, methodically going through each room in your home can help you spot dangers you might have otherwise missed.
Remember that perspective is key. It may seem silly, but get on your baby’s level—what does each room look like from the ground? What might a small child use to pull themselves up from the floor? Are there any sharp corners they might catch while crawling around or exploring? You might be surprised at what dangerous objects are well within reach of your little one.
Babies, especially newborns, spend much of their time sleeping. This makes investing in a secure crib very important. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JMPA) recommends getting a brand new, properly-assembled JPMA-certified crib, bassinet, or cradle.
Here are some of the most important safety criteria for assembling and using cribs:
- Before you use a crib, be sure to check for any recent dangerous product recalls.
- Follow manufacturer guidelines when assembling a crib. Do not use it if there are missing, loose, or broken pieces.
- Gently used cribs may be okay, but keep in mind that anything older than five years may no longer meet current safety standards.
- Don’t use blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals for children under the age of six months, as they can create a suffocation hazard.
- Make sure you are using the correct mattress size. Using a mattress that is too small for the crib can lead to a child getting wedged between the crib and the mattress.
- Always lay your child to sleep on their back, which has been proven to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Kitchens can be a dangerous place for anyone, let alone babies. It’s especially easy to get distracted while cooking, so it’s important to always make sure your child is supervised by another responsible person while you’re in the kitchen.
In addition, consider making these alterations to your kitchen setup for enhanced safety:
- Move cleaning supplies, dish detergents, and other hazardous chemicals from lower cabinets to higher ones to prevent accidental poisoning.
- Use safety latches to keep small children from getting into cabinets in the first place.
- Invest in stove knob covers so children can’t turn on the burners and suffer a burn injury.
- Keep electrical appliances unplugged when not in use, with electrical cords stored out of reach.
Believe it or not, bathrooms can be one of the most dangerous rooms in your home, resulting in thousands of emergency room visits annually. Experts recommend never leaving a baby or toddler unattended in the bathroom for this reason. Check out these tips for babyproofing your bathroom:
- Adjust your water heater temperature. Children can easily scald themselves with hot water from the tub, so keep the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
- Use anti-skid bath mats and slip-resistant mats in the tub itself to avoid slip and fall accidents which can result in lacerations, bruises, and even head injuries.
- Lock your medicine cabinet. Be especially careful not to leave vitamins and supplements or razor blades and other sharp objects on the counter or in the cabinet under the sink.
- Always supervise children in the bath. It takes as little as two inches of water for a child to drown. Resist the urge to step away even for a moment, as babies can easily slip underneath the water without any sound.
- Use a safety latch to keep your toilet closed and prevent children from falling in.
- Consider keeping bathroom doors locked or using a door knob cover to bar access from the bathroom.
Additional Tips for Babyproofing Your House
- Most living rooms are full of furniture, so securing heavy items is a primary focus for this area of the home. Use furniture straps or brackets to make sure bookshelves and televisions don’t fall over onto your child.
- Blinds cords can be a strangling hazard. Invest in cordless blinds or use cord safety wraps to keep these cords out of reach.
- Utilize electrical outlet covers to prevent electrocution accidents.
- Use a secure baby gate to section off stairways once your child begins crawling.
- Corner guards can help prevent cuts from sharp objects like tables.
What To Do If Your Child Is Injured
Despite the best intentions and precautions when babyproofing your house, sometimes accidents still happen and children suffer injuries. When those injuries are caused by the negligence of another person or entity, families may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, pain and suffering, and in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses.
In order to secure the best settlement, however, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced child injury lawyer to help you prove your case. At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, our legal team has helped thousands of families seek justice for injuries caused by dangerous or defective products, medical malpractice, and unsafe premises.
Get a free consultation regarding your case by calling 615-333-8888 to reach our Nashville personal injury lawyers. You can also request a complimentary case review, or connect with a representative now using our LiveChat feature.