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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.

To prevent burns

  • Turn your water heater's temperature down to 120°F (48.9°C) to help prevent burns from hot water.
  • Keep hot liquids, such as coffee, away from your baby.
  • Do not heat formula or breast milk in the microwave. Hot spots in the liquid can burn your baby's mouth and throat.
  • Keep pan handles on the stove turned inward so your baby can't reach up and grab them.
  • Use safety plugs or covers on all electrical outlets.
  • Unplug household items—such as coffee pots, toasters, fans, and lamps—when they are not in use.
  • Screen off fireplaces and other heat sources. Secure fireplace screens so your baby can't knock them over or get around them.
  • Install smoke detectors in your home, and change the batteries at least once a year.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

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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