Newborn Safety Tips and Baby
By Michael Schoenwetter, M.D. and
Loraine Stern, M.D.
Checklist for Baby Proofing Your Home
So, a newborn one is on the way or in your midst and you are probably
concerned about all this baby proofing stuff you are supposed to figure
The first thing to do is realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. You
will get the hang of it. To get you started, the following list is just
what the doctor ordered. As your baby grows from one stage to another
you will be equipped to implement the necessary baby proofing changes
and your home will be a safe haven.
Basic Baby Proofing Checklist
* Try not to use hand me downs with the crib and car seat. Newer cribs
have much higher levels of safety standards. Ensure the slats are
vertical and not too far apart (no more than 2 3/8th inch)so that your
newborn won't get his or her head through the opening.
* Never put soft pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads etc in the crib.
Also make sure that the mattress fits very tightly between the frames of
* Never allow your newborn to sleep in loose fitting clothes or in
clothes that have drawstrings or ties. Always place your baby to sleep,
lying on their back.
* Never put the crib close to a window or near tie chords from draperies
* Always use the harness system that comes with your child's high chair,
seats etc. The straps are there for a reason and should never be
* Always place your child in a new, approved car seat according to the
laws in your state.
* Cover all electrical outlets and remove hanging or dropped cords.
* Ensure that play pens or portable cribs and strollers are set up
properly so they won't be at risk for collapsing.
* Set your water heater at 120 degrees to avoid hot water burns.
Baby-proofing Your Kitchen
Toddlers are apt to explore their world around them, leading to greater
chance of injury. This is why you have to put latches on cupboard doors
and on kitchen drawers. Baby proofing gives you a measure of safety and
it helps if you leave the lower level Tupperware drawers and cabinets
open for some safe fun. Your kitchen needs to be adequately baby-proofed
so that you can cook safely in it; with all dangerous items up and out
of reach for your baby. This includes turning pot handles inside when
cooking as well as sharp appliances out of the reach of your children
and not in lower level cabinets that are open.
Baby-proofing around the Home
You shouldn't trust latches when it is a matter of chemicals and
household cleaners. Keep these chemicals out of the kitchen and higher
up, out of any child's reach. The garage is a good place as long as you
again use safety locks. Some babies see latches as specific challenges
to be overcome and can get around them fairly quickly. Make sure to pay
attention at all times when a child is in an area of higher risk such as
the kitchen or bathroom.
Remember that babies see electrical outlets as places to put their
fingers into. They also put metal objects into them, making them even
more dangerous. Cover all outlets or use outlets that have sliders that
protect the holes. Some children can pull the plugs off so the slider
kind is preferable if you can afford them.
Know What Your Limitations Are
Make certain that you are
aware of what the baby is doing around your home and know what he/she is
getting into. Child-proofing is also great for anyone who lives in a
region that receives earthquakes as it will protect some items from
We hope these frequently asked questions are helpful and please check
back as we will be adding more new information regarding newborn care.
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information on how to protect you and your newborn/family during the
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