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Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years - Safety Measures Around the Home

Safe sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome is one of the most common causes of death for babies 1 month to 12 months old.

Although SIDS cannot be predicted or completely prevented, placing your baby to sleep on his or her back can help prevent this tragedy. For more information, see the topic Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Falls

You can prevent many falling accidents by using common sense and appropriate equipment that meets all safety standards. Recognize new hazards that your baby may bump into or stumble over as he or she learns to scoot, crawl, and walk. And don't allow your child to walk or run with objects in his or her mouth. Your unsteady toddler could get face and mouth injuries in addition to other injuries from falling.

Choking

  • Prevent choking. Your child can choke on things smaller than 1.25 in. (3.2 cm) in diameter and 2.25 in. (5.7 cm) long. These include button batteries and coins. Keep items like these out of your child's reach.
  • Learn to recognize signs of choking. For example, a child who is choking can't talk, cry, breathe, or cough.

Strangulation and suffocation

A young child can strangle from a variety of household items. Protect your child by minimizing these hazards:

  • Keep cords for blinds and drapes out of your child's reach. Attach cords to mounts that hold them taut, and wrap them around wall brackets.
  • Cords with loops should be cut and given safety tassels instead.
  • Never use accordion-style gates. A baby or young child may trap his or her head in the gate and may strangle.
  • Make sure that furniture does not have cutout portions or other areas that can trap your child's head.

Suffocation is another danger for young children. Teach your child about suffocation and the importance of a safe play area. Pay attention to possible suffocation dangers, such as:

  • Trunks of cars. Keep rear fold-down seats closed so children aren't able to climb into the trunk from inside the car. Also, always lock car doors, and keep the keys out of your child's sight and reach.
  • Refrigerators and freezers, even those that are not in use. If you are storing an old refrigerator or freezer, remove the door.
  • Plastic sacks. Do not let your child play with plastic sacks, and keep them out of his or her reach. Many children like to play with sacks and put them over their heads.
  • Be careful with baby slings. Keep your child's chin up, and keep his or her nose and mouth away from the fabric. Make sure you can see your baby's face.
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