Did you know that hundreds of children younger than 1 year die every year in the United States because of injuries — most of which can be prevented?
Often, injuries happen because parents are not aware of what their children can do. Your child is a fast learner and will suddenly be able to roll over, crawl, sit, and stand. Your child may climb before walking, or walk with support months before you expect. Your child will grasp at almost anything and reach things he or she could not reach before.
Because of your child’s new abilities, he or she will fall often. Protect your child from injury. Use gates on stairways and doors. Install operable window guards on all windows above the first floor. Remove sharp-edged or hard furniture from the room where your child plays.
Do not use a baby walker. Your child may tip it over, fall out of it, or fall down the stairs in it. Baby walkers allow children to get to places where they can pull hot foods or heavy objects down on themselves.
If your child has a serious fall or does not act normally after a fall, call your doctor.
At 6 to 12 months children grab at everything. NEVER leave cups of hot coffee on tables or counter edges. And NEVER carry hot liquids or food near your child or while holding your child. He or she could get burned. Also, if your child is left to crawl or walk around stoves, wall or floor heaters, or other hot appliances, he or she is likely to get burned. A safer place for your child while you are cooking, eating, or unable to provide your full attention is the playpen, crib, or stationary activity center, or buckled into a high chair.
If your child does get burned, put cold water on the burned area immediately. Keep the burned area in cold water for a few minutes to cool it off. Then cover the burn loosely with a dry bandage or clean cloth. Call your doctor for all burns. To protect your child from tap water scalds, the hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120°F. In many cases you can adjust your water heater.
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, especially in furnace and sleeping areas. Test the alarms every month. It is best to use smoke alarms that use long-life batteries, but if you do not, change the batteries at least once a year.
At this age your child loves to play in water. Empty all the water from a bathtub, pail, or any container of water immediately after use. Keep the door to the bathroom closed. NEVER leave your child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, wading or swimming pool, or any other water, even for a moment. Drowning can happen in less than 2 inches of water. Knowing how to swim does NOT mean your child is safe in or near water. Stay within an arm’s length of your child around water.
If you have a swimming pool, now is the time to install a fence that separates the house from the pool. The pool should be fenced in on all 4 sides. Most children drown when they wander out of the house and fall into a pool that is not fenced off from the house. Be prepared — install a fence around your pool now, before your child begins to walk!
Poisoning and Choking
Your child will explore the world by putting anything and everything into his or her mouth. NEVER leave small objects or balloons in your child’s reach, even for a moment. Don’t feed your child hard pieces of food such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, peanuts, or popcorn. Cut all of his or her food into thin slices to prevent choking.
Be prepared if your child starts to choke. Learn how to save the life of a choking child. Ask your doctor to recommend the steps you need to take.
Children will put everything into their mouths, even if it doesn’t taste good. Many ordinary things in your house can be poisonous to your child. Be sure to keep household products such as cleaners, chemicals, and medicines up, up, and away, completely out of sight and reach. Never store lye drain cleaners in your home. Use safety latches or locks on drawers and cupboards. Remember, your child doesn’t understand or remember “no” while exploring.
Strangulation and Suffocation
Place your baby’s crib away from windows. Cords from window blinds and draperies can strangle your child. Use cordless window coverings, or if this is not possible, tie cords high and out of reach. Do not knot cords together.
Plastic wrappers and bags form a tight seal if placed over the mouth and nose and may suffocate your child. Keep them away from your child.
And Remember Car Safety
Car crashes are a great danger to your child’s life and health. Most injuries and deaths caused by car crashes can be prevented by the use of car safety seats EVERY TIME your child is in the car. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will permit a child to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more. A rear-facing car safety seat should NEVER be placed in front of a passenger air bag. Your child, besides being much safer in a car safety seat, will behave better so you can pay attention to your driving. The safest place for all infants and children to ride is in the back seat.
Do not leave your child alone in a car. Keep vehicles and their trunks locked. Children who are left in a car can die of heat stroke because temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes.
Remember, the biggest threat to your child’s life and health is an injury.
Keeping baby safe in their own bed: 6 to 12 months
Every year too many babies die suddenly during sleep. Many of these deaths can be prevented.
Help to keep your baby safe in bed by:
- making sure that your baby is in their own bed for every sleep
- making sure that your baby is on their back for every sleep
- having a smokefree home and car
- breastfeeding your baby
- immunising your baby on time.
Make every sleep a safe sleep
Sudden unexpected death is a risk to babies until they are about 12 months old, but most deaths can be prevented. There are things that we can do to protect our babies. Although for some babies the cause of death is never found, most deaths happen when the babies are sleeping in an unsafe way.
Always follow these safe-sleep routines.
Make sure that your baby is safe
To keep your baby safe while sleeping, make sure:
- they always sleep on their back to keep their airways clear
- they are in their own cot or other baby bed
- they are put back in their own bed after feeding – don’t fall asleep with them (to protect your back, feed your baby in a chair rather than in your bed)
- they have someone looking after them who is alert to their needs and free from alcohol or drugs
- they have clothing and bedding that keeps them at a comfortable temperature – one more layer of clothing than you would wear is enough; too many layers can make your baby hot and upset them
- they are in a room where the temperature is kept at 20°C.
You can check that your baby is warm but not too hot by feeling the back of their neck or their tummy (under the clothes). Baby should feel warm, but not hot or cold. Your baby will be comfortable when their hands and feet are a bit colder than their body.
If you are out somewhere, or if you are sleeping with your baby, make sure that they have their own safe place to sleep. It is never safe to put your baby to sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or a chair or in their car seat.
Make sure that your baby’s bed is safe
Baby’s bed is safe when:
- it has a firm and flat mattress
- there are no gaps between the bed frame and the mattress
- there is nothing in the bed that might cover your baby’s face, lift their head or choke them.
Your baby may begin to roll over from their back to their front when they get to 5–6 months old. You don’t need to try to stop this happening, as long as their cot is free of things that might suffocate them, such as pillows, large soft toys and cot bumpers.
Make sure that your baby’s cot is put together correctly. The tops on the corner posts of wooden cots may need to be sawn off so that your baby can’t hang themselves by their clothing. The spaces between the bars of the cot must be between 50 mm and 95 mm – try to make the spaces closer to 50 mm if you can. If you have a cot with adjustable levels, make sure that you lower it before your baby can pull themselves up (at about 9–10 months).
The cords for blinds and curtains are a danger. Put the cot away from the window so that your baby can’t reach them.
Car seats protect your baby when travelling in the car. Don’t use them as a baby bed.