Looking Ahead: Baby's Safety

Since infants and small children are top-heavy and relatively weak and uncoordinated, they can drown very quickly in very small amounts of water or other liquids. Never leave an infant in or near water even for an instant, and certainly not under the supervision of another child.

Fall and Other Injuries

You will need to be cautious, both at home and away, to prevent accidental falls. Do not set your baby's carrier near the edge of a table, bed or counter or leave it unattended on a high surface, even one that seems safe. Your baby will have trouble sitting upright, even in an infant seat or stroller, so make sure security straps are snug. Don't leave a baby alone with toddlers and young children who might try to pick the baby up.

Once your baby is mobile, use baby gates on stairs, both top and bottom, and to make other dangerous areas off-limits.

Other hazards to watch for include open safety and diaper pins, sharp jewelry worn by adults, sharp edges on toys, splinters on old cribs and playpens, toxic paints on walls, stairs, furniture, and toys, and curious pets.

First Aid and Emergency Assistance

Keep emergency service numbers displayed on or near your phone. In addition to your local emergency number (probably 911), you should have the number of your child's doctor and your local poison center. You also should know the location of the nearest 24-hour emergency facility.

Since children are bound to encounter accidents big and small over the years, you should learn basic first aid, emergency choking aid, and infant and child CPR techniques. Hospitals, local fire stations, the Red Cross and other community organizations usually offer classes. With preparation and a sharp eye, you should be able to minimize safety hazards for your newborn. But don't let your guard down; your baby will be up walking and into everything before you know it!

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