Becoming parents for the first time is equal parts exciting, equal parts challenging. Hopping onto the family bus is a lot of joy and a lot of hard work too, so once you move ahead from all the initial excitement, you start understanding that you need to be extra careful and extra cautious around these tiny human beings and every little thing that you used to previously overlook can pose a significant threat to your little one.
Different people’s ideas of a perfect nursery might vary and so do their preferences. However, there are a few must-haves and dos and don’ts that need to be a part of every babies’ nurseries in order to keep your little one safe and sound. There are a lot of things that go in the making of a perfect nursery – yes, more than a cute theme, bright colors and stuffed toys. While there is no denying that these are the exciting and fun parts that go into the making of the nursery, the safety aspects of the nursery just cannot be overlooked. Statistics show that about 2 million kids aged below 4 years are brought to the emergency/casualty room every year due to accidents at home. Now that’s one scary statistic!
It is highly recommended that you ensure that your crib complies with safety standards that are laid down. The crib slats shouldn’t be more than 2 ⅜ inches apart – so that there is no risk of your baby falling from the crib or that of getting its head or leg stuck in the crib. Ensure that the corner posts are properly smoothed out and do not have sharp edges. Avoid having any other metal or element on top of the corner post even for decorative purposes. There are chances of your baby’s clothing getting stuck in such corner posts and getting pulled. This could lead to strangulation and in worse case scenarios, even prove to be fatal. Avoid decorations with long strings and ribbons as they could pose an equal threat to babies in the form of a strangulation hazard. Regularly check and re-check to ensure that the screws and bolts of the crib are properly secured and are tight so that the crib does not unexpectedly dismantle or collapse. The location and placement of the crib also play a crucial role in the safety of the crib. Avoid placing your crib near the window. You don’t want your little ones climbing onto the windows.
In order to avoid the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), always put the baby to sleep on her back and use a firm and flat mattress. Soft bedding increases the risk of the baby suffocating while sleeping leading to SIDS. Always check that the crib is free of any small parts of the toy or the toy itself that the baby is capable of choking on. Also, ensure that there is no plastic bag or plastic material in or around the crib as this could also result in strangulation or choking.
Watch out for Windows:
As mentioned earlier, avoid placing the crib near the windows as the babies are likely to climb up the crib and fall off the window. This can prove to be very dangerous and even fatal. Avoid placing any other baby furniture and even baby’s playpen close to the window.
The window cords are another potential strangulation threat to the young ones. Avoid having them close to the ground or at heights where it is easy for the little ones to reach them. Instead, use cordless window coverings. This eliminates the threat the window cords pose and make it safer for the babies. If you are thinking that the cordless coverings are getting a little out of your budget and you need a little inexpensive alternative – don’t worry, install window cleats. They are very easy to install and secure the cord conveniently to avoid any accidents.
Before you bring your baby home, make sure that you have electrically baby-proofed your home well in advance. If you haven’t already and have moved in with your baby, make sure that you get it done as soon as possible. Cover the unused electric sockets with plug protectors. Always have extra plug protectors in hand that could be used for sockets while they aren’t being used. Thoroughly check the plug protector that is being used. Check that it is covering the entire outlet pair. Tuck other electrical plugs and wirings into the furniture so that they are away from the reach of babies and toddlers.
Secure your doors
Ensure that the doors have smooth edges. Sharp edges on the door can lead to pinching tiny fingers of your little one. Always use a door stopper so that the door doesn’t shut on your young one’s tiny fingers. One must also avoid having doors wherever possible. Curtains are a better alternative.
These are much safer for toddlers while compared to doors and also efficiently separates spaces as well.
Keep all the toiletries and cosmetics out of reach
Store all the baby supplies – lotion, powder, shampoo out of the reach of the toddlers. Often when left unsupervised, even for a few minutes, young babies tend to reach out to these products and consume it. These products can act as poison or even react with the internal systems of the babies’ bodies causing severe damage and long-term complications. Ingesting makeup and skincare products are one of the most prevalent forms of poisoning in children aged below 6 years.
Changing Table Safety
Another fall-related accident that commonly happens with young toddlers is due to the safety harness. Always use the safety harness attached to the changing table to secure the baby in its position but oftentimes, these babies wiggle out of the strap resulting in them falling from the changing table. Therefore, one must always use the safety harness, but should not completely rely on it. Always use one of your hands to hold the baby secure in its position. A lot of the changing tables these days come with storage space attached to it, which allows the aren’t to store baby lotions and powder in the changing table itself. However, it is advised that parents choose separate dressing and storage units to avoid the baby from consuming these products while left unsupervised. Having such units attached to the changing table also increases the risk of the table tipping off due to the heavy furniture attached to it. Do not leave the child unattended on the changing table.
Before the baby moves in, make sure that you have installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If you already had them in place, do not forget to check their batteries. Additionally, put your money in a good baby monitoring system – it is worth it. Most of the systems these days are designed to work with apps and as a result, you can monitor your baby even while you are not at home.
Crib Toys and Pacifier Safety
Crib toys and pacifiers pose a potential danger to babies as these are capable of blocking airways when the baby is left unattended or drifts off to sleep. Avoid using any pacifiers that are attached to the strings as these can potentially strangle the baby. Regularly check the pacifiers for holes, tears or any other damages. If the pacifier is found damaged, replace them with new ones immediately. Check that the protective shield of the pacifier is big enough that it doesn’t fit into the babies’ mouth. If the protective shield of the mouth isn’t big enough, it might easily slip into the baby’s mouth resulting in the baby swallowing the shielding and choking on it. It is also important to note that all the toys are removed from the baby’s crib while the baby is being put to sleep or is left unattended. The toys might look cute and adorable but these toys could pose a threat to the baby.
While planning and designing your nursery, always design first for function and convenience. Cater to the functional and safety aspects of the nursery first. You can always follow this up with the fun parts like having a cute theme for your baby or choosing a fun wallpaper or a different wall color for your little one. Amidst all this, do not forget that you will also be spending a lot of your time in this nursery. Ensure that it caters to your needs as well.
Becoming a new parent can be very challenging and nothing in life ever prepares you for that, but having a safe space for your baby will not only help you a break from constantly worrying about the safety of your baby but will also give you little time (when you’re a parent, every minute counts) for yourself.