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Quick Tips: Baby-Proofing Your Home - Get started

To prevent poisoning

  • Be sure that all the products your baby comes in contact with, such as toys and jewelry, haven't been recalled because of high lead levels or other hazards. If your child is exposed to lead, he or she might develop health problems and have trouble learning. For more information, go to the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov.
  • Have a qualified person test for lead in paint on walls and other surfaces, especially in homes built before 1978. House paint is no longer made with lead. But older homes may still have it. Babies often like to eat paint chips or chew on painted surfaces. Even a small amount of lead can harm your baby. If you know that paint has lead in it, don't remove it yourself. When crushed or broken down, lead paint may contaminate dust and dirt in the surroundings. Have it removed by a professional with experience in lead hazard control.
  • Put safety caps on all products that can poison your child, and store them in a high or locked cabinet. This includes cleaners and other chemicals, medicines, makeup, perfumes, and other products that can harm your baby if he or she eats or smells them. Be aware that everyday items, such as mouthwash and some plants, can harm your baby.
  • Keep the phone number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) near your phone.

To prevent choking

  • Learn the signs of choking so you can react fast. For example, a baby who is choking can't cry, breathe, or cough. Take a class on the Heimlich maneuver and CPR so you'll know what to do if your baby chokes.
  • Keep small objects or parts of objects—such as toy pieces, coins, buttons, marbles, rubber bands, and balloons—out of reach.
  • Use care when you choose and prepare food. Mash fruits and vegetables like grapes, peas, and blueberries before you give them to your baby. Cut meat in small pieces.
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle. Your baby could choke if the fluid "goes down the wrong way" and gets into the lungs.
  • Remove mobiles from cribs and playpens before your baby is able to reach up and grab them.

To prevent suffocation

  • Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Dress your baby in sleepers instead of using blankets. And remove any pillows, toys, and stuffed animals from the crib. They can cover your baby's face and make it hard for him or her to breathe.
  • Be sure that the crib mattress fits tightly so there are no gaps that your baby can fall into or get trapped in. Don't use crib bumpers or sleep positioners.
  • Do not let your baby play with plastic bags or sacks. Keep them out of reach.
  • Make sure that furniture, such as a couch or your baby's crib, doesn't have raised corner posts or cutout portions that can trap your baby's head.
  • Be sure that refrigerator and freezer doors are securely closed, even those that are not in use. If you are storing an old refrigerator or freezer, remove the door.
  • Do not allow your pet to sleep with your baby. Dogs, cats, and other animals can smother your baby.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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