Because babies aren't yet able to raise their heads, they
need special protection from suffocation. But small children are at
Protecting Kids from Suffocation
Protect kids from the dangers of suffocation by following these
- Never place an infant face-down on soft surfaces such as a
waterbed, comforter, sheepskin rug, or mattress cover.
- Never put an infant in a crib or on a bed with soft bedding,
blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or plush toys.
- Never put an infant down on a mattress covered with plastic
or a plastic bag.
- If you practice
, be sure to follow the safety rules.
- Promptly dispose of plastic shopping bags and plastic
dry-cleaning bags. Tie several knots in each bag before throwing
- Keep plastic garbage bags and large sandwich-style plastic
bags out of the reach of young kids.
- When cleaning up after a birthday or holiday party, pay
special attention to all plastic bags from packaging. Collect
them and throw them out immediately.
- Make sure your baby's crib mattress is the right size and
fits snugly in the crib. This keeps a baby from getting caught
between the mattress and the crib sides.
- Make sure your baby's crib sheet fits snugly on the
mattress to keep it from coming off and getting wrapped around
your baby's head. You also can buy crib sheet holders to keep
sheets in place.
If you're expecting a baby or already have a child, it's
a good idea to:
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich
- Keep the following numbers near the phone (for yourself and
- toll-free poison-control number
- child's doctor's number
- parents' work and cell phone numbers
- neighbor's or nearby relative's number (if you need
someone to watch other children in an emergency)
- Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Maintaining a Safe, Kid-Friendly Environment
To check your childproofing efforts, get down on your hands and
knees in every room of your home to see things from a child's
perspective. Be aware of your child's surroundings and what
might be potentially dangerous.
Completely childproofing your home can be difficult. If you
can't childproof the entire house, you can shut the doors (and
install doorknob covers) to any room a child shouldn't enter to
prevent wandering into places that haven't been properly
childproofed. Doorknob covers and childproof locks for sliding
doors are also great for keeping little ones from leaving your
home. Of course, how much or how little you childproof your home is
up to you. Supervision is the very best way to help prevent kids
from getting injured. However, even the most vigilant parent
can't keep a child 100% safe at all times.
Whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child, your home
should be your little one's haven for safe exploration. After
all, touching, holding, climbing, and exploring are the activities
that develop a child's body and mind.
Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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