Archives for January 2012

10 Safety Risks for Babies in Most Homes

Even a mostly-babyproofed home has its share of dangers and safety risks. Once a baby becomes mobile, crawling into trouble and dangerous situations is the work of a moment. Because there will be times when you take your eyes away from your baby, it’s best to be aware of the safety risks in your home and take measures to prevent injuries.

  1. Blind Cords – Considered a “hidden danger” by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, blind cords pose a very real strangulation risk for babies. Commercially available cord winders are relatively inexpensive and prevent dangerous cords from dangling in Baby’s reach.
  2. Cleaning Supplies in Low Cabinets – Before having children, most people are accustomed to keeping their cleaning supplies in the cabinets beneath the sink. When little ones begin to crawl, they’ll make a beeline for the lower cabinets; it’s best to move chemicals and dangerous components out of reach if you don’t plan to invest in cabinet locks.
  3. Electrical Outlets – It’s no surprise that electrical outlets are a safety risk; one of the first things that most new parents do is to fit empty or seldom-used outlets with safety plates. However, the small bits of plastic are easily lost when they’re removed in order to use an outlet, and may never get replaced. Making sure that they’re all intact is the best way to ensure your baby’s protection.
  4. Power Strips – In addition to providing babies with several outlets to hurt themselves with, power strips also house plenty of dangerous cords. The Power light on most strips can intrigue a little one, causing them to attempt an investigation. Using power strip covers can keep a baby from accessing the myriad dangers underneath.
  5. Wires and Cords – Electrical cords and component wires not only pose a significant strangulation risk, but can cause injury from falling objects if Baby pulls a piece of electronic equipment from it’s stand by the cord. Bundling wires and cords and stowing them out of reach is key.
  6. Stairs – Like electrical outlets, stairs aren’t a surprising addition to this list. However, many parents who were once vigilant about the use of safety gates can become lax as those gates malfunction or are subjected to wear and tear. Replacing broken gates and using them properly can prevent messy falls.
  7. Bannisters and Railings – Railings with more than a 2.5 inch gap between bars should be covered with protective netting until your baby is old enough to understand the dangers of getting stuck or dropping things through the bars.
  8. Water Heaters Over 120°F – Babies can receive severe scalds in under a minute; ensuring that your water heater is set no higher than 120°F can greatly reduce the risk of serious burns from hot water.
  9. Small Objects – Older siblings and even distracted parents can unthinkingly leave small objects within a child’s reach, which they will inevitably put in their mouth and could choke on. Making it a habit to scan a room for small objects upon entering it and impressing upon older kids the importance of protecting the baby can help to reduce this risk.
  10. Toilets – Crawling babies who are beginning to pull themselves up with the support of an object can open a toilet lid if it has no safety lock, and will want to investigate. In addition to bacteria and health risks, toilets can also be a drowning hazard for little ones.

10 Ways to Get Educated About Newborns

For expectant parents with limited newborn experience, one of the most daunting aspects of looming parenthood is learning how to care for their impending bundle of joy. Even beginning the process of learning the details of newborn care can be vastly overwhelming; here are ten of the best ways to educate yourself about the needs and requirements of your new baby.

  1. Hit the Bookstore – The childcare section of your favorite bookstore is likely to have a staggering array of newborn-centric information; from different methods of parenting to very basic guides outlining the day-to-day care of a newborn, there’s very little that isn’t covered in these books.
  2. Parenting Forums – Online discussion forums dedicated to parenting can be a wealth of information. Most members will be more than happy to share what works for them, and offer support.
  3. Local Parenting Groups – Contacting a local parenting support group or taking a parenting class can help you connect with parents in your area, where you can benefit from their experiences and speak candidly about the fears and challenges you’re facing.
  4. Friends and Family Members – Your friends and relatives will be a source of limitless advice, whether you want it or not! Those closest to you with children of their own will be able to answer any questions that you have, and offer their support.
  5. Parenting Classes – Most community centers and hospitals offer parenting classes for expecting parents. If you have trouble locating these classes, your obstetrician should be able to point you in the right direction.
  6. Mommy Blogs – A large section of the blogosphere is dedicated to blogs written by moms from all walks of life, called Mommy Blogs. Candid and often funny accounts and anecdotes are easily found; these frank postings can be a treasure trove of real-life advice.
  7. Parenting Magazines – Periodicals dedicated to parenting and childcare are one of the more popular magazine genres. In addition to providing advice columns related to the care of your newborn, you can also find information that will prove valuable as your child matures.
  8. Spend Time With Friends’ and Family Members’ Babies – Among those family members and friends that are so willing to give your their advice, there’s a strong chance that someone has a small infant. Spending time interacting with the children of your nearest and dearest is a great way to get hands-on experience before your own little one arrives.
  9. Nanny Consultants – In addition to providing full-time childcare services, there are also many nannies who do consulting work for new parents or even agree to a short-term working agreement in order to help you become accustomed to life with a newborn.
  10. Parenting Websites – Websites directed at new or expecting parents are filled with information about caring for a child. The internet is home to a wide range of sites designed to provide details about specific parenting methods, meeting basic needs and keeping your sanity when sleep deprivation sets in.

While educating yourself as much as possible before the arrival of your newborn is necessary, no amount of studying will prepare you for the experience of becoming a parent. It’s important not to beat yourself up if you sometimes feel overwhelmed or need help.