How to Protect Your Baby From Unsafe Products
In an average year, close to 70,000 children under age 5 go to the emergency department because of injuries from common nursery items, according to the journal Pediatrics. About 90% of these injuries happen at home, so prevention starts there.
One reason young children are more prone to injury is that they have disproportionately large heads, which raises their center of gravity. They tend to lead with their head when they fall and are unable to break their fall with their arms because of lack of coordination and strength.
- Baby carriers
- Strollers and carriages
Safety concerns have made baby walkers less popular items, but they still account for 36% of injuries among babies 6 to 11 months old.
Baby carriers are linked to more than half the injuries among babies under 6 months old and often occur when the caregiver carrying a baby falls. Help prevent these mishaps by making sure your home is free of tripping hazards like toys and cords in hallways and near stairs. Avoid using a carrier on stairs altogether. When you must, hold onto the handrail. And always make sure the carrier is appropriate for baby's size and weight.
In addition to reducing infant deaths by eliminating all objects from the crib -- including bumper pads, mattress toppers, blankets, pillows and toys -- only use a firm, snug-fitting mattress designed for your baby's specific crib model.
Stroller and carriage injuries often stem from tip-overs and falls. Avoid hanging objects on the handles and don't allow siblings to hang on them. Always set the brake when you're not moving to keep it from rolling away from you.
Finally, pay attention to recalls -- nursery products are often the leading children's category recalled in the United States, yet up to 80% of such products remain in households after a recall due to a lack of awareness.
Sign up to get emails about product recalls on the website of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
SOURCE: Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary illness specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City