February 25, 2021

Baby safety will persist long after the pandemic

As the country passes the one-year milestone of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all starting to get used to the weirdness of masks, social distancing, and lockdowns.

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed at all: Brand new people keep arriving every day!

Experts say the weirdness has little effect on infants and toddlers, who simply enjoy building their routines in a safe and caring environment.

A newborn is essentially immobile for 6 months to a year, but as the child begins to ambulate, you’ll soon discover how many ways baby can get into trouble, and how quickly it can happen. Keep them safe!

Baby-proofing is a multi-billion dollar industry built around ways to block, limit and protect toddlers from all manner of household harm. Children younger than 2 have the highest rates of unintentional home-injury death of all children under 15.

If ever there was a room that needed to be blocked off from a curious little one, it’s the kitchen. If baby gates aren’t an option, re-organization is next best. Move cleaning supplies, medications and detergents to higher cabinets, and never leave a stepstool, bucket or box where a toddler could use it.

Even if there are safety latches, bottom cupboards and drawers should only include things that are safe for baby - plastic containers, food, and paper towels.

Check ovens to see if they have locked door settings, and keep handles turned inwards on the stove to prevent pots and pans from being pulled down.

In other parts of the house, cushioned corner and edge guards help protect baby from coffee and side tables, fireplaces, TV stands and other sharp surfaces.

The bathroom has its own hazards. Keep the door closed, and only allow younger children to enter the room when supervised. Check water temperature before handwashing or baths. Consider slow-closing toilet lids to prevent slamming and protect little fingers.

Falls are the biggest danger, particularly for climbers. Bookshelves and TVs should be secured to the walls or floors.

But most falls are from the child’s own feet, and children are top-heavy – bumps on the head are not uncommon. Bleeding is reason for a trip to the ER. Beyond that, watch signs of concussion – dull eyes, lethargy and vomiting. Absent these issues, most falls won’t require a trip to the doctor.

One can’t protect a child from everything. Baby proofing measures may slow kids down, but they aren’t going to stop them. It’s up to you to stay vigilant, keep your eyes open and kiss boo-boos better when you can.