Whether you’re a new mom, experienced mom, or expecting mom, the safety of your children is of upmost importance. Sometimes items within our every day environment can present life-threatening dangers to our fragile newborns. The following list shows the most common causes of injury or death in infants from 0-12 months and the associated safety measures that can help prevent these accidental deaths.

Infants may be more at risk of certain injuries based on their age and their physical capabilities. Each specific recommendation may be more pertinent to a specific age group. Therefore, try to take into consideration the infant’s level of mobility and dietary intake when considering the appropriate safety measures to implement.

Prevent aspiration (choking):

  • Hold infant for feeding rather than prop the bottle.
  • Learn the procedures to relieve choking and administer infant CPR.
  • Use one piece pacifiers
  • Keep small objects out of the infant’s reach
  • Keep floors clear of small objects
  • Do not feed infant foods that may present a choking hazard, such as hard candy, nuts, circular pieces of hot dog, etc.
  • Do not feed while the infant is lying down.
  • When the infant begins to eat table foods, ensure they are cut into very small pieces.
  • Inspect all toys for removable choking hazards.

Prevent suffocation and drowning:

  • Keep all plastic bags stored out of reach and tie large plastic bags into a knot before discarding them.
  • Double check that your crib design follows federal regulations (crib slats 2 3/8 inches apart) and that the mattress fits snugly.
  • Avoid co-sleeping. Ensure that your infant sleeps alone in his/her crib with no pillow.
  • Do not use drop-side cribs.
  • Remove crib toys that are strung across the crib when the infant begins to push up on hands and knees.
  • Remove bibs at bedtime
  • Never leave infant alone in bath and keep one hand on child while in the tub at all times.
  • Do not leave infant in a car on a warm/hot day.
  • Keep all deflated balloons out of reach and supervise contact with inflated balloons.
  • Keep doors of ovens, dishwashers, coolers, washers, and dryers closed.
  • Fence swimming pools.
  • Always supervise when near ANY source of water, such as toilets, ponds, cleaning buckets, etc.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed.

Prevent falls:

  • Use cribs with fixed, raised rails.
  • Never leave infant on a raised, unguarded surfaces (counters, couches, etc.)
  • Restrain infant in infant seats and never leave unattended while seated on a raised surface (i.e. Highchairs).
  • Fence the bottom and top of stairs.

Prevent Burns:

  • Avoid warming formula in the microwave and always check temperature of liquid before feeding.
  • Always check bath water temperature.
  • Do not leave infant in sun for more than a few minutes and apply sunscreen.
  • Do not leave infant in parked car.
  • Check temperature of car seat before placing infant in car seat.
  • Place hot objects (i.e. candles, incense) out of reach
  • Place guards around heating appliances, such as fireplaces and furnaces.
  • Keep electrical wires out of reach and put plastic guards over outlets.
  • Keep hanging tablecloths out of reach of children because they may pull items that contain hot liquids from tabletops.

Prevent Accidental Poisonings:

  • Make sure paint on toys and furniture is lead free.
  • Place toxic substances in a locked cabinet out of reach.
  • Keep medication bottles locked and out of reach.
  • Keep home plants out of reach, if possible.
  • Keep cosmetic and personal products out of reach.
  • Store new batteries out of reach and discard used batteries
  • Do not refer to medications as “candy”
  • Avoid over the counter cough and cold medications for infants.
  • Save the Poison Control Phone number on your cell phone. (1-800-222-1222)

Prevent Injuries Due to Motor Vehicles:

  • Always use federally approved, rear-facing car seats secured in the back seat of vehicle when transporting infants.
  • Ensure the infant is snugly secured in car seat and that the car seat is appropriately secured within the vehicle.
  • Do not place child in stroller or car seat behind a parked car.

The acronym SAFE PAD can help with remembering the common causes of infant injuries.

  • Suffocation
  • Asphyxia
  • Falls
  • Electrical burns
  • Poisoning
  • Automobile safety
  • Drowning

References:
Hockenberry, M. J., & Wilson, D. (2015). Wong’s nursing care of infants and children (10th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
(Photo source: http://www.slumber-baby.com/safe-sleep/)

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