First-time moms and dads get a lot of advice before their little one arrives. But the most important words are those concerning baby safety. We caught up with a few parents to get their top tips to help keep their little ones safe and stay sane on the new journey for soon-to-be first-time parents.
Staying Safe in the Kitchen
Evan Porter is the dad to a 5-year-old girl and another baby due soon. He shares his parenting advice and safety tips on Dad Fixes Everything — a blog dedicated to common parenting problems and solutions. His number one tip is to be mindful of the drawer under the oven.
“Not only do you probably store heavy pots and pans (or breakable glass dishes) under there[, it] can get seriously hot if you’ve been running the oven. Look for a magnetic latch to discourage [the] baby from opening it once he’s crawling around.”
Beware of other common kitchen dangers that can harm your little one, including cooking with them nearby. Never cook with your baby in your arms and don’t let them crawl around you while you’re in the kitchen. It’s easy for them to be burned or accidentally hurt with heavy cookware.
Fireplaces and Fires
Porter also shared another common danger around the house that could easily be overlooked by first-time parents.
“For parents of toddlers, watch out if you have a fireplace! Many will have sharp brick edges or ledges that can do serious damage to a running kiddo if they fall. You can find rubber edging to cover this area or just lay a heavy blanket down when you’re not using the fireplace.”
To stay alert of fire or smoke in the home, make sure you regularly check your smoke alarms and change the batteries at least once a year. Before your little one arrives, make sure you have a fire escape plan and any necessary equipment to keep your home safe. Consider fire escape ladders and fire extinguishers as a starting point.
Risk of Drowning
Alex Wise is the proud father to twin boys and shares his experiences often on Help, I’m Having Twins. Wise shared that one of the most common dangers for babies and toddlers is drowning. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are reported to have the highest drowning rates in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“One of the most common causes of injury and death for babies in drowning in the pool,” he said. “With babies being quite top-heavy, they can slip into or under the water quickly and easily drown off only a small amount of water within 30 seconds. For this reason, ensure you always supervise [your] baby when they are in the bath and never leave them alone, even if to quickly get a towel.”
Wise suggested getting everything ready before bath time so you don’t have to step away at all.
Most first-time parents fear their child’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS) and what they can do to prevent it. According to the CDC there were nearly 3,600 sudden infant deaths in the United States. Wise shared his advice that many experts follow:
“Create a safe sleeping environment for your baby to reduce the risk of Sudden Death in Infancy (SIDS). Always put your baby to sleep on the back, keep their face and head uncovered and remove any items which possibly could suffocate your newborn like quilts, doonas and soft toys.”
You should also be careful hanging wall art or other decorative items above the crib to avoid them falling on your baby. You should also follow the latest Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) crib guidelines for a safe slumber.
The Dangers of Choking
Heather Hoke, writer for Embracing Chaos with Love, is a mother of two kids who she says “get into things you would never think of.” One of Hoke’s number one concerns was not knowing what to do if her children were choking.
“All parents should take a class or get CPR certified for a newborn. Or at the very least know what to do in the event of an emergency with a newborn not being able to breathe.”
Hoke went on the share that babies will quickly grab anything and put it in their mouths in a matter of seconds. She suggests double-checking an area before letting your baby sit or play to grab any hazardous items that can fit into their mouths and lead to choking.
Other Safety Precautions for First-Time Parents
We’ve compiled a few of the most important home dangers for first-time moms and dads to consider as they prep their home for their new bundle of joy.
- Make sure furniture is secure and mounted to the wall to avoid your child tipping it over. You’ll also want to make sure furniture isn’t near windows to avoid children climbing and potentially falling.
- Add electrical outlet covers throughout the home to prevent your little one from sticking hazardous objects in the outlet, which could also lead to electrification.
- Place door locks and latches throughout the home to stop your baby from opening doors or drawers containing sharp, poisonous or other dangerous items.
Set up baby gates to block off stairs and other dangerous areas of the home and prevent accidents. Remember to always use the baby gate properly. If your little one sees you stepping over the gate, they may try to mimic this behavior.