If you’re like most parents, you would never dream of putting your
infant at risk. Yet each year too many parents – parents just like you
– experience the anguish of a seriously injured baby. Knowing how and
why infants get hurt can help you avoid the risks and keep your
obstruction - Most infants suffocate while in their sleeping
environments, when their faces become wedged against or buried in a
mattress, pillow or other soft bedding. Cots, especially older used
cots, are responsible for about several strangulation and suffocation
deaths each year. Infants can also choke on small toys, toy parts,
foods and other small items.
and scalds - The majority of scald burns to children, especially among
those ages 6 months to 2 years, are from hot foods and liquids spilled
in the kitchen. Hot tap water from a sink or a bath is also to blame
for many scald burns among children; these burns tend to be more severe
and cover a larger portion of the body than other hot liquid burns.
A correctly installed and used child safety seat reduces the risk of
death by 71 percent for infants. However, it is estimated that the
majority (approximately 85 percent) of children who are placed in child
safety seats are improperly restrained.
More than half of infant drownings occur in the bath, although toilets
and buckets can also be hazardous for this age group. The main reason
infants drown is a lack of supervision – often for a very short amount
Falls - Infants are
primarily at risk from falls associated with furniture, stairs and baby
walkers. Baby walkers account for more injuries than any other nursery
product in the 5 to 15 month age group – most of these injuries result
from falling down stairs or simply tipping over.
Children under age 2 are especially at risk for unintentional
poisoning. Household products, lead and carbon monoxide are all
significant risks. Babies can get lead poisoning from ingesting or
breathing in lead dust or fumes.
Eliminate potential hazards:
All cots currently sold in the UK should conform to BSEN716. This
should mean that the cot is deep enough to be safe for your baby,
without cut outs and steps, and that cot bars are less than 45-65 mm
apart. If your cot is second hand, or borrowed, make sure cot bars are
less than 45-65 mm apart (a drink can shouldn't fit between the slats)
to prevent your baby's head from slipping between the bars.
your cot is secondhand and painted, strip all paint and re-paint it
with lead-free paint. If your child breathes lead dust or fumes or
swallows anything with lead in it, he can get lead poisoning, which can
cause learning disabilities and other neurological problems.
the cot to be sure that the mattress fits snugly; there should be no
corner-post extensions and no decorative cut outs in the headboard or
foot board which could trap your baby's limbs. The gap between the
mattress and the cot side should be no more than two fingers wide.
Don't use a pillow in the cot. For safe sleeping, your baby needs a surface that is firm and flat.
When you're not in the room with your baby, keep the drop side of the cot up and locked.
only age-appropriate toys for your baby. Small toys and toy parts can
choke infants – when in doubt, use a small parts tester. Make sure the
nursery floor is free from small objects such as buttons, beads,
marbles, coins and tacks. Keep these and other small items out of your
sure household cleaners, medicines and vitamins are locked up and away
from your baby. Keep poisonous plants out of sight and reach.
leave babies or toddlers unattended near sinks, tubs, buckets and
containers, and empty them immediately after use. Store buckets and
containers upside down.
Avoid baby walkers on wheels – use stationary activity centres or other walker alternatives instead.
Set the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat at 48°C (120°F) or lower.
and maintain smoke alarms (outside bedrooms and on every floor) and
carbon monoxide detectors (in every sleeping area) in your home.
a car seat on every journey. Infants should ride in rear-facing car
seats – in the back seat of the vehicle – until they are at least 1
year old. Never place a rear-facing baby or child seat in the front of
a car equipped with an active airbag.
leave a baby or child under four years old unattended in or near water,
even for a second. Don’t rely on inflatable rings or other devices to
keep your baby afloat. Fill in garden ponds or surround them with a
solid fence at least 1.5m high.
leave a baby unattended on changing tables, beds or other furniture.
Keep one hand on your baby while changing nappies.
Always check bath water for “hot spots” by moving your hand back and forth through the water.
Avoid carrying hot foods or liquids near your baby.