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Keeping Your Baby Safe

Car travel

Car accidents are the most common cause of death in infants. Most of these deaths could be prevented with the proper use of car safety seats. Always put your baby in an approved car safety seat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when you install it. Place the safety seat in the back seat facing the rear (trunk) of the car. Fasten the car's safety belt securely through the safety seat, according the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure your child is strapped snugly into the safety seat.

Never hold your baby in your arms in a moving car, even if you are only going a short distance.

Preventing drowning

Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death of children. An infant can drown in less than an inch of water in just a few minutes. Never leave your baby alone in a tub of any size. If you must leave to get something, take the baby with you. Unplug the telephone or let the answering machine take over during the baby's bath. Leaving your baby alone in the bath while you answer the phone is not worth the risk.

Preventing falls

Infants wiggle, move and push against things with their feet soon after they are born. Even these first movements can result in a fall. Do not leave your baby alone on a changing table, bed, sofa or chair. When you need to leave your baby alone - even for a second - put him or her in a safe place, such as a crib or playpen.

Preventing burns

Never carry your baby and hot liquids or hot food at the same time. Prevent burns from scalding tap water by reducing the temperature of the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your baby gets burned, immediately put the burned area in cold water. Keep it there until he or she stops crying. Cover the burn loosely with a bandage or clean cloth, and call the physician.

Preventing choking

Infants explore their environments by putting everything into their mouths. Choking can result in brain damage or death. Never leave small objects within your baby's reach. Don't feed your baby pieces of hard food, such as chunks of raw carrots, apples, grapes, peanuts or candy. It is important to know what to do if a baby starts to choke.

Preventing suffocation

To prevent possible suffocation, babies should always sleep on their backs. When placed on their sides, babies should be leaned toward their backs. The "back to sleep" practice has helped reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Never put your baby on a water bed, bean bag chair, pillow or anything soft enough to cover the face and block air to the nose and mouth. Keep pillows and stuffed animals out of the crib.

Smoking

Environmental smoke leads to ear infections, colds, respiratory disease and an increased chance that the baby will develop asthma or SIDS. Always keep your baby in a smoke-free environment. If adults in your home smoke, insist that they smoke outdoors.

Child care

Be very selective about the people who care for your baby. People who are careless, easily angered or frustrated in other situations may behave the same way with a crying baby. A baby must never be shaken; serious brain injury or death may result. If you or anyone who spends time with your baby finds themselves easily angered or frustrated, seek help from your physician.