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Safety Tips for Your Growing Baby

Accept it early that many babies are born with an independent spirit and those that are won't always accept your gestures, words, or warnings. Once you understand that you can't control a baby, you're on your way to happy parenting.

However, safety is so important, and you can control your baby's surroundings. In this day and age, preventive maintenance is key.

My first son, Michael, never questioned anything. He played happily with toys that were safe and avoided any area that was threatening. Then Brandon came along. Brandon, the more typical of the two, was the first one to notice, at an early seven months, that the cable cords behind the TV could be reached easiest by climbing straight through the bottom of the VCR shelf. And when I said, "No!" he would head in the other direction at about 90 miles an hour with a grin on his face that I can't describe without laughing. He knew he shouldn't be doing what he was doing!

I realized early on that I needed to come up with a strategic plan that would allow him to be safe while still encouraged to explore and be adventurous. It was exhausting, so I'm happy to share it with you in hopes it may make your life easier.

  • Trust the fact that your baby will try to imitate you as often as possible as he grows. This means you should be careful how and what you do in front of your baby. For example, use caution opening and closing a door, don't stand or lean on your stove, etc.

  • Take a CPR class now to relieve your mind and protect your baby. Classes are offered year-round from your local Red Cross and other community service providers.

  • Keep baby away from waterbeds, pillows, soft couches, and the like. Anything soft like this will be dangerous because of the gaps, which create an area for baby to get wedged or stuck, and where baby could suffocate.

  • Use safety gates and teach baby to stay within designated perimeters as soon as she starts to scoot. This will teach her to respect boundaries. This becomes more and more important as she grows, especially when she begins doing things like playing in a backyard without a fence.

  • Think to bring along a small portable gate when you visit other people's homes. You'll see as baby begins to move that if you don't have one with you to confine her, your visits may only last about five minutes.

  • Once baby can reach a mobile, take it down, because it becomes a strangulation hazard. Never tie anything to a crib or attempt to make a homemade mobile. These things are just accidents waiting to happen.

  • Keep telephone lines and blinds and curtain cords up high and out of baby's reach, because they are choking and strangulation hazards, too.

  • Don't leave either side rail of a crib in a lowered position. There is just no purpose in doing so for baby at this age.

    More on: Babies


    Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Murphy. Excerpted from Your Growing Baby (5 to 8 Months) with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

    To order this book visit Amazon.com.

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