Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What safety tips all moms should know

I'm not going to give you a mothering list. None of that- sleep when the baby sleeps, breast is best, no bottle past 1, and get rid of that pacifier at 6 months. None of that. You will figure out what works for your family and what doesn't.

What kind of list am I going to give you? One that is solely on safety and health.

1. Make sure all cords are out of reach. This includes the blinds in their room, baby monitor, and anything else that may be in arms reach. Pay attention to where their crib is in comparison to these cords, such as the cord to the baby monitor. "Since 2004, CPSC has received six reports of infants who were strangled by baby monitor cords that were placed too close to a crib. In the most recent death—in March 2010—a 10-month-old girl from Washington, D.C., pulled a camera monitor into her crib and was strangled by the cord."- Source

2. Food Safety. Don't let children under age 3 eat small, round or hard foods, including small pieces of hot dogs, cheese sticks/chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes and popcorn. Want to know when your baby can eat certain foods? This article provides you the answers to all the questions. Thinking about making baby food? I love it! But there is so much I didn't know. Like the dangers of honey? Canning your own baby food? And more. Please read this article first.

3. Pay attention to temperature in a baby's room. If possible, get a monitor that has the temperature on there. Try to keep it under 75 degrees. Optimal is 68-72. Also keep in mind the baby's attire and not to over-bundle and over-heat the baby as this is a risk for SIDS.

4. Have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home. This is pretty standard in all homes, however just be safe and be aware of where they are, that they are working properly, and that they can be heard by everyone. Which brings me to, get a carbon monoxide detector! They are inexpensive and life saving. Carbon monoxide is known as the "silent killer" for a good reason. It is a toxin that lacks odor or color and thus is undetectable. That's where the monitor comes in. Get it. Get one for every level of the house and within 15 feet of sleeping areas so that everyone can hear it. *Also, do not place them above a fuel-burning appliance.

5. Baby Fevers.  It is dangerous for a baby to have a fever in the first 3 months of life. Every doctor has a different protocol {so make sure you check with yours], but overall standard is 100 or higher to call and bring the baby in. Older than 3 months:

"The AAP suggests calling the doctor if a baby is between 3 months and 6 months old and has a fever of 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C) or higher, or is older than 6 months and has a temperature of 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C) or higher – and has symptoms such as a loss of appetite, cough, signs of an earache, unusual fussiness or sleepiness, or vomitingor diarrhea." source

6. Have pets? Stay away from flea collars. They can not only be toxic to your pets, but your babies AND you as well! Here is a great article that I found on this. 

7. Fluoride Toxicity. "Over 30 studies have associated elevated fluoride exposure with neurological impairment in children, which may, in part, result from fluoride’s affect on the thyroid glandRead more details here.  Use flouride free toothpaste until child learns how to spit out the toothpaste. We use Toms.

8. Kid hits there head? Things you should know. Kids fall. They are prone to accidents. In fact, you hear a lot of kids falling off beds, down the stairs, and other scary stories that make every parent lose their breath. But do we all know the symptoms to look for? When to call the doctor? When to go to the ER? More detailed information is here. Some important highlights from the article:

"If a child suffers a concussion, she will lose consciousness, perhaps only for a few seconds. She'll be confused, unable to tell you who and where she is. She also won̢۪t remember what caused the injury. All kids with concussions need to see a doctor right away and be observed for a period of time.Other worrisome signs to look for after a head injury include:

vomiting more than three times right after the injury, or once four to six hours afterward;
clear fluid or blood coming from the ear or nose;
abrupt onset of severe ear pain right after the injury;
bad headache that persists more than an hour;
complaints of dizziness or of blurred or double vision;
difficulty staying awake and confusion and incoherent speech when woken;
staying sweaty and pale;
irregular or funny breathing. If any of these symptoms are present, bring your child to a physician or an emergency room right away."

9. Car seat safetyHere is a great in depth article. I listed just some of the important tips that I read through. Some that I, personally, had no idea about. Another great tip is to drive to the local fire station to have your car seat checked. Directly from the article:

-Position the shoulder straps through the slots at or below your rear-facing baby’s shoulders.
-Use either the car’s seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both systems at the same time.
-All car seats have an expiration date. Generally, it is six years, but contact the manufacturer of the seat to find out what the expiration date is for your specific seat.
-Do not use any products in the car seat that did not come from the manufacturer. Car seat fabrics meet strict fire safety codes. Add-on toys can injure your child in a crash. 
-Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.
-Car seats should never be borrowed {unless you know the full history}, and even if in a minor accident, should be pitched.

10. No bulky coats in the car seats. I had no idea about this. Why? Because the car seat safety sites that I had read never mentioned a word of this. My doctor never mentioned anything. Neither did the car seat manufacturer. It wasn't until recently that I found this out and kicked myself over and over again for not knowing this. When I asked moms out there? The majority also had no idea. Solution? Put coats on and off after taking child out of car seat. Keep a blanket in the car. Here is a great video and more in depth article on this.

11. Poison control. Know the number: 1-800-222-1222. Um. How easy is that number to remember? I mean really. Save it to your phone. Aside from the usual keep household cleaners locked up and away from reach, and medications locked up and stored away, there are a few other things to be aware of. Direct link to the poison control website with more detailed information. 

12. Deodorant and Nail Polish. Two major toxins that some may not be aware of and products that are used on a daily basis. Do not let children play with nail polish on their own, and keep deodorant away from reach.

13. Decorative lamps, candles, or air fresheners are highly toxic as well. 

14. Children must wear helmets. Whether that be a tricycle, bike, or riding with a parent, a helmet that meets that minimum standards must be worn. Check for a sticker on the side saying it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

15. Set up a plan with your daycare or babysitter if you are running late. What is this for? I have read one too many stories of parents forgetting their children in the car resulting in their death. How tragic and horrific this is. Often times, this happens when there is a "change" in routine when parents are supposed to drop their children off at daycare and forget. I read a great article that urged moms to stet up a plan to be called if they are running late asking where the child was that day.

16. When going to amusement parks, be prepared. If you plan on going anywhere that is highly populated and busy, take the extra time before to come up with a plan with your family. A plan? For what? In case your child gets lost. Take pictures of your child before going so you can remember what they are wearing. Put a sticker on their back with your phone number on there. Teach them {if age appropriate} and show them pictures the night before or when you get to the park of workers that they can go to if they get lost.  

17. Set your water thermometer to 120 degrees or lower. Self-explanatory. Burn prevention from water being too hot.

18. Turn handles away from the stove, and if possible cook on the back burners.

19. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Be aware of this in all aspects including the bath, toilets, and buckets with water around the house.

20. Pulse ox check before leaving hospital. As a commenter suggested, make sure your baby has this checked before leaving the hospital. Ours does it mandatory, and I assumed all the hospitals nationwide did as well. This can help diagnose a missed cardiac defect in the baby early on.

20. Abduction tips. I didn't know this, but you can have your children finger printed at the local police station to have on file. Another tip was to have a lock of your childrens' hair and fingernail clippings. I would have never thought.

22Lastly, LEARN CHILD CPR! Can't attend the class? Watch videos online to get yourself familiarized. Make sure family members, friends, or caregivers watching your children are also aware of what to do in case of an emergency. Learn more here at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Have questions? Need more answers?Ask those questions to the sources that you trust most. Whether that be the internet, your doctor, your mom friends, or the neighbor down the street.

Ask. The more we know, the less we don't know, and the safer our kids can be.


  1. Great tips! :)

  2. Great list! I would add 2 things:

    1. For car seats - most people don't know, but even if you are in perceived "minor" car accident, the car seat has been compromised and you are supposed to get a new one. You don't know how the impact may have affected it's integrity. (Also why you should never purchase a car seat from a consignment store or similar --- if you borrow from a friend, make sure you know the history of the car seat.

    2. This one is most important to me - before you even leave the hospital, make sure you ASK for a pulse oximetry screening. It may detect lower levels of oxygen in the blood that may be an indication of a previously undetected heart defect. Some hospitals have mandatory screening, MOST do not. You can learn more about pulse ox screening here (painless, inexpensive, effective):

  3. Thanks so much for these tips. I'm pregnant with my first so you better believe I'm pinning this post for later :)

  4. THANK YOU for this awesome post! I will have to "pin it" for the future someday :) xoxo

  5. One more that our ped told us at our recent 15 month visit- hand wash knives and keep out of dishwasher. We haven't been able to find a good child proofing mechanism for our dishwasher. If the kiddo can get into it, knives (and possibly all silverware) should be kept out. He said there have been fatalities from this. Horrifying! Also, anchoring furniture to walls is a big one. But that's all more under the toddler childproofing category.

  6. Great list. THe cords, why do kids love cords...and electrical don't know how many times my kids have gotten a hold of hidden AND clasped cords...they are crafty...very crafty.

  7. GREAT list!!! Such important information! Thank you so much for posting :)

  8. this is an absolutely awesome resource that I will definitely be using! thank you so much for taking the time to simplify the important stuff
    Oh and just an fyi, you might want to check out my post today, its actually about taking prenatals, Premama has a new product out thats a drink mix instead of pills. More info and giveaway on my blog if youd like to check it out
    the sweet life of a southern wife

  9. Great list!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Love this! I actually did a post about car seat safety. Not sure if you have heard of "car seats for the littles" on FB but its amazing!! All CPST techs and they will help you with any car seat question!!

  11. Great list. I am embarrassed to say that as a pediatrician we don't learn about bulky coats being unsafe in car seats. I found this out one day when a patient brought it up to me. I immediately looked it up on the AAP website and sure enough it was listed as unsafe. Thankfully I was rather new to the real doctor world and learned quickly to pass on the tip. Here's a great website for all things pediatric (sponsored by the AAP)- I use it for my own kids and my patients!


  12. As a nurse you should know to add co-sleeping! I work in a children's hospital and on a weekly basis infants come in in distress and many die as a result of this. It is such a dangerous thing to do.

  13. In regard to the previous comment, I'm sure Becky knows co-sleeping itself isn't unsafe when done properly. ie never after drinking or using drugs and without thick blankets and loose bedding. It's actually the way most cultures other than the US sleep with their babies.

    A friend posted that video of what happens with bulky coats and car seats. I see so many kids getting into cars with puffy coats and just cringe. A tip I learned is to either keep your kids in fleece or turn their bulky coat backward-ie have them put their arms out in front of them (after the car seat is buckled) and slip their arms through the sleeves. I still keep a blanket in my car, but sometimes it's cold :)

    I was shocked to learn the risks of forward facing a car seat before a child's spinal cord solidifies into bone. It's a bit of an annoyance sometimes, but much preferred to internal decapitation.

    Thanks for the tip about keeping fingernails/hair clippings. I never would have thought of that, but it makes so much sense.

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