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Baby Safety

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
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As a new parent all you want to do is keep your little newborn safe from the big, wide world. But your own home hosts hazards, too – and baby is keen to explore them! Here are some essential safety tips for keeping your new baby safe and sound.

Safe Baby Objects

There are dozens of baby toys out there – from soft rattles to bigger things like play mats and bath seats – so how do you choose? Here’s what to avoid.
  • Small pieces – even today, toys still get recalled because someone has noticed small parts that babies could choke on. Mattel recalled some Polly Pocket and Batman toys in September 2007, when it found that internal magnets posed a choking hazard.
  • Toxic colours and inks – babies like to put stuff in their mouths! So make sure that all their toys, whether chewy or not, are painted in non-toxic colours and natural varnishes. Check that paints are lead-free (some Barbie accessories were recently recalled after small amounts of lead were found in their paint).
  • Bath seats – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends caution when using these. All too often, parents leave babies in bath seats, leaving the room to answer a telephone or fetch some shampoo. Bath seats are not an alternative to constant supervision, and don’t forget that drowning is a major cause of death among the under-2s.
  • Bouncers and chairs – When you’re choosing baby furniture, particularly the type that moves around, make sure the model has a safety strap that forms a soft T crossing baby’s waist and hooking between the legs. Choose a bouncer that has a large, sturdy base, making it difficult to tip over.
For the most up-to-date information about product recalls, use the UK Trading Standards website.

Safe Eating

The Department of Health recommends breast-feeding until your baby reaches the age of around 6 months. When your baby begins to show increased hunger or an interest in your own food, it’s time to introduce some solid food. You don’t need to buy in jars – buy a food processor and simply puree a tablespoon of one or two vegetables that you’re eating. Start your baby slowly and don’t forget – never add seasoning or sugar.

The best way to put your baby on the track to adventurous eating is by varying his or her diet from a young age. Offer him or her a choice of foods instead of pressuring him or her to eat. Eating together as a family is also important, and babies will often gobble up nasty greens if they came from your plate!

Safe Crawling

For baby, learning to crawl is an enormous adventure. There’s so much to see, grab, chew, and pull! For mum and dad, crawling is a stress-fraught time. Minimise your risks by assessing the house for hazards: a carefully prepared house is the perfect place for your baby to start developing a sense of adventure!

Falls: Babies have little control over their own bodies and during their crawling lessons, falling is one of the most common hazards. Now, more than ever, it’s vital you keep them safe by supervising at all times. If you need the loo, pop baby into a playpen until you get back!

Trapped fingers: To your baby, doors are a whole new concept! Door stoppers are easier to install than you might think. You can buy soft stoppers that slide onto edges without any screws or nails.

Stair falls: Scaling and bumping down stairs is a great game when you’re increasing your range of movements. No wonder the stairs are high-risk: keep yours fenced off with a stair gate at top and bottom. There’s a wide range available, including screw-on and pressure-fixed models in wood and painted metal. Pick a gate that you can open and shut with one hand, so that you’ll remember to close it behind you when carrying baby up or down the stairs.

Electric sockets and fires: Childproof your home using our quick guide (find it in the left-hand menu).

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