Expert Tips That Could Save Your Baby’s Life
The parents I meet in my line of work have two main concerns for their kids. If I meet them in my life as a teacher, parents are concerned about performance, academic, social, behavioral. If I meet them in my life as a veteran mom and child care expert, they are concerned about safety, across the board.
New parents, do yourselves a favor and relax. Nobody is perfect at this job, but improvement is up to you. Because all parents want to keep their kids safe and healthy, here are 5 expert tips that could save your baby’s life.
- Learn CPR. A life skill for any parent or person who cares for children, CPR is easy enough that even kids can learn. Even if you don’t keep up your certification, take the class at least once. It can save your baby’s life in an emergency, or someone else’s life. First Aid training and understanding how to execute abdominal thrusts is helpful too.
- Hire safe childcare. It’s vial to hire trained child care providers who have passed criminal background checks. Never feel bad about asking someone to take a background check; your child’s safety is non-negotiable, and his life is irreplaceable. Experience is life’s best teacher, so hire someone with documented service for babies, toddlers, or school-age kids, depending on your child’s age. Be sure that your caregiver knows and understands your safety rules, and go over household safety with your caregiver (and kids if they’re old enough) regularly, even if you think they already know.
- Properly install car seat and use it every time – According to Today, 93% of parents leaving the hospital with a new baby improperly install their infant’s car seat. Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of death in children. Conversely, a properly-installed car seat saves a baby’s life more often than not. Our local baby hospital will not release children until a security officer checks for proper installation of infant car seats. If you’re not sure how to install yours, take it to your local fire, police, or health department and ask for help. You can even ask another parent, but whatever you do, use your car seat correctly every single time baby gets in car.
Some important steps to remember when using car seats and child safety seats:
- The car seat should not move more than 1” from side to side
- The safety strap buckle should always sit on the child’s sternum, never on the stomach
- Safety straps are tight enough when you can’t pinch the strap into a complete fold
- Towels or pool noodles can be used to ensure the car seat sits at the correct angle
- Toddlers will unbuckle their seatbelts without warning. Check the rearview mirror periodically and pull over immediately if your child has unbuckled her seat belt.
- Never forget your baby in the car. There’s a lot of mom-shaming on the internet revolving around this topic. “What kind of parent forgets their baby in the car?” But here’s the thing—we’re all busy, we all have parent-brain, and we’re only human. People make mistakes, and forgetting the baby in the car is a more common mistake than you might imagine. New technology is being developed to remind parents to check the back seat, but low-tech ideas work just as well. Since most of the world has gone hands-free, put your cell phone in the back seat, or even your purse. Take off one shoe and put it in the back seat. You could simply put your briefcase next to baby on the back seat. Do anything that will make you open the back door and see the baby.
- Only food goes in your child’s mouth. Parents can save baby from choking by child-proofing. It sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes people don’t realize this means crawling around at baby-level, seeing what might catch the interest of your little one. Anything that fits through a toilet paper tube can also fit down a baby’s throat. Foods such as popcorn, nuts, and hot dogs are huge offenders for choking with kids under the age of five. Avoid these foods, or make sure to cut tiny pieces and have the child sit still while eating them.
- Never leave baby alone in/ near water. This may seem self-explanatory, but even in adults, it only takes a small amount of water in the lungs to drown. Even when your baby is old enough to stay upright in the bath, experts say to never leave them alone in or near water, even for just a few seconds. (This is why toilet locks have become a common baby must-have). If you must walk away from the bath, take your child out of the water and wrap him up in a towel. It’s better for your baby or young child to be cold for a few minutes than for tragedy to occur.
Parents can keep kids safe by being present. Be with them. Play, watch, and spend time just being there. Pay attention to your child and trust yourself when it comes to the well-being of your baby, no matter his or her age
Follow these basic rules and all you should have to worry about is everything and everyone else in the world. Just kidding! (Sort of). Seriously, once basic needs are met, your baby can work on developing physically, emotionally and socially, with lots of support from you along the way.
Joan Lowell has been a Local Area Representative with Go Au Pair since 2012. She is a cultural childcare advocate and Mom to six great kids. She earned her BS at RI College (1994), MEd at Providence College (2004) and has spent the better part of the past two decades working with children and their families. Some of her many hats include: wife, mom, grandma, educator, and writer. Her hobbies include baking, gardening, drawing, reading, and relaxing on the porch.