Working in child injury prevention, I’m hyper-sensitive to safety issues in our home. My husband is an engineer, so he needs clear-cut rules, but no spreadsheet or method of organization could prepare us for the safety needs of our son.
A few days after we brought our son home from the hospital, my husband left our new child unattended on the changing table because our son spit up and he “needed” to grab a burp cloth from across the room.
I yelled. He argued that the changing table was anchored to the wall and our son was small and not strong enough to roll off or tip over the changing table. I took a deep breath, acknowledged my post-partum hormones, and calmly explained to him that you never leave a child unattended on a changing table, regardless of their size or strength.
We have since made sure we have all the supplies we need nearby so we can keep one hand on our son and grab a fresh diaper, wipe, diaper cream, thermometer, bulb suction, spare clothes, and burp cloths.
We’ve recently started trying solid foods which is both incredibly fun and quite messy. It took only two days before I decided we needed to keep the bibs in the kitchen, rather than with the rest of the baby clothes. Even though we’re both working from home, we try to be set up to care for our son safely and independently.
Often one of us is working in another room while the other is caring for the baby so if we forget to get a bib, we don’t leave our son alone in the highchair. Both of us, on separate occasions, have yelled to each other to bring one because we didn’t want to leave our son alone or remove him when we had just secured him.
We always securely fasten him into the highchair using its five-point harness so he probably wouldn’t be able to squirm out of it and fall, but we don’t want to risk it. It’s important for all of us to get into good habits when it comes to safety.
Babies are messy, but a messy face isn’t the end of the world. As new parents, we are constantly reassessing our standards of cleanliness for ourselves and our house, while keeping safety our number one priority.
There are so many things to consider when it comes to keeping our son safe in our home. The Make Safe Happen app makes safety a little easier by offering age-specific, room-by-room safety tips and product recommendations.
For more information on how to keep kids safe and prevent injuries in the home, click here.
Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.
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