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Safety Tips for Your Growing Baby

  • Once a car seat has been in an accident, it's considered unsafe and shouldn't be used again. Even though it's wonderful to pick up good bargains like this at garage sales, you have to be especially careful, because you just never know what the product has been through in its lifetime.

  • Keep hot beverages out of baby's reach by at least an arm's length. You may not realize how much your baby is learning and how quick she will be when she begins to grab at things she wants.

  • Put all toxic substances, cleaning supplies, vitamins, paints, furniture polish, medicines, and so on in high cabinets, even if you have latches on the lower cabinets.

  • Some plants are also toxic, so read about them before you buy them and keep them high and away from baby. Consider using plant hangers.

  • Be sure to keep a list of your plant names (especially those outside in your yard) near the phone in case of an emergency. If you have to call poison control, it will help immediately to know what plant you're talking about and will save time—at a time when every second counts.

  • Post emergency numbers, including the poison control center, near all telephones in the house.

  • Never leave anything plugged in near a sink, bathtub, toilet, or any other source of water.

  • Bathe baby in the tub and not the sink at this age. Having baby anywhere near the hot water valve is just a bad idea.

  • Consider padding any edges at baby's height, including coffee tables, end tables, sharp chairs, and so forth. Some babies will learn to be careful around such dangers and some just won't. Trust your judgment.

  • Fasten shelves, especially unstable ones, directly to the wall so shelves cannot fall over on top of baby and hurt her. Once your baby starts to make her way around the room, she will pull herself up on furniture like this and it can be extremely dangerous. Use wall anchors and/or screws and be sure they fasten deep into the drywall. Wall anchors and screws are easy to use once you get the hang of it and they are much sturdier than using plain nails. Visit a hardware store for details.

  • Remove closet doors in your baby's room for now, especially the folding kind that pinches fingers. You'll see that once you've taken them off, you will have more room for things like toys or bookshelves, and you've also created a cozy and safe play area for baby as she grows.

  • Simple things like doors opening and closing can be hazards to baby soon because her finger can get wedged in if she leans on it. Anchor doors open with something heavy or keep doors tightly shut around baby, especially once she begins to crawl.

  • Check all toys, new and used, for warning labels, loose parts, worn joints, and broken edges. You can also look up toys that have been recalled easily on the Internet.

  • The most important safety tip I can share with you is to be sure you create an emergency plan and tell your entire family and caregivers what it is. Take time and learn how to open and close each window and make a plan on where to meet (at the mailbox, perhaps) and what to do in the event of a catastrophe.

    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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