Baby safety: Plan ahead for home and in cars

The first year with a new baby is an exciting, joyful time. However, it’s also a time when new parents have to think about safety.

September is Baby Safety Month, a good time to plan ahead to make safe spaces for babies at home, at play and on the way.

Focus on the ABCs

Ohio ranks among the states with the highest number of baby deaths before the first birthday — also called infant mortality. One of the most preventable reasons is due to where and how the baby is sleeping.

Fixing that problem can be as easy as ABC. “Babies should sleep A-Alone, on their B-Back and in a C-Crib,” says Jessica Saunders, director of Dayton Children’s Hospital Center for Child Health and Wellness and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “Remove pillows, soft bedding and toys from the crib and make sure the slats are close enough together so baby can’t get trapped. You shouldn’t be able to fit a soda can through them.”

Buckle up for safety

In the emergency department last year, Dayton Children’s treated 52 children younger than the age of 2 involved in car crashes. But they will always be safer if they are secured in a car seat in the back seat on every trip. Infants should ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds, up to 30-35 pounds if your car seat allows it. Always check the harness for proper fit. If you ever have concerns, Dayton Children’s offers a number of car seat checks throughout the year. Just log on to to find one near you.

Water worries

More kids drown in bathtubs than in any other product in the home. “Even an inch of water can be deadly, so never leave your infant alone in the bathtub, even to answer the phone or grab a towel,” says Saunders.

Children love to splash in the water, any water, so beware of hidden hazards. Buckets left outside can fill with rain water and become a drowning hazard. Keep the lid on the toilet shut and latched with a baby-proofing clip. Spas and hot tubs may be irresistible for little splashers, so keep them securely covered.

Be sure to make sure all chemicals and dangerous items are placed out of babies reach, as well. Check all the places baby stays for these hazards — the baby-sitter’s, grandma’s house or daycare. That way baby will be safe wherever he or she goes.

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This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email: