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New Parent Checklist: How To Baby-Proof Before Baby Comes Home

When you bring your newborn home for the first time – between feedings, naps and sleep schedules – things are going to move quickly. So it’s very important to make sure the house is safely set up for their grand arrival. In fact, the best time for baby proofing your home is at least three months before your due date because some of these preparations may take time. 

To help you get started, here’s a list of general guidelines to keep in mind as you baby-proof your car, secure your home and prepare for emergencies. 

 

Baby-Proofing Your Car

  • Before your baby even gets to your house, they’ll have to ride in your car. Having the right car seat and installing it correctly is essential to keeping your baby safe. Install an approved rear-facing car seat in the back seat (in the middle, if possible) and get it inspected (for free!) by a local certified child passenger safety technician.
  • Clear the car of any small objects that could be choking hazards, such as coins and pens.
  • If the sun is strong where you live, consider applying stick-on sun shades to the back windows to block the rays.

 

Preparing The House

  • Put non-slip pads under all rugs and make sure rugs don’t have curling edges that you (or a growing child) can trip on.
  • Cover sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers or safety padding.
  • Block all open outlets with furniture or use safety plugs.
  • Latch closed any drawers, doors or cupboards within baby’s reach.
  • If you plan to hook a highchair to your kitchen table, check that the table is sturdy and strong.
  • Get rid of any blinds or curtains with looped cords, or install safety tassels and cord stops to tuck away the cords.
  • Check your doorstops; many have removable caps that pose a choking hazard.
  • Unplug and store electric appliances whenever they aren’t in use (iron, curling iron, etc.)
  • Make sure all of your houseplants are non-toxic varieties. Some plants are extremely poisonous.
  • Get any flaking or peeling paint sealed or removed by a professional, especially if your home was built before 1978 when it was more likely to have lead-based paint. Dust from lead paint, which was banned from residential use in that year, can be harmful if ingested.
  • Install a UL certified carbon monoxide detector on every story of your house if you use gas or oil appliances or have an attached garage. 

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in the hallways outside of bedrooms.
  • Test the batteries of any detectors you already have.
  • Install a temperature guard on your water heater at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.
  • Purchase a baby first aid kit, which is important to have at home so that, in case of an emergency, no one has to run out to the store and waste valuable time to get supplies.
  • Add emergency contacts and medical information to your phone that can be accessed even in lock mode.
  • Place a list of emergency numbers within easy access near a landline phone or on the refrigerator.
  • Make sure your home or apartment number is easy to see so fire or rescue can locate you quickly in an emergency.

 

Creating A Safe Sleep Environment

  • Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected to avoid exposing baby to any potentially harmful fumes.
  • Secure any dressers and bookshelves to the wall with screws, and pull the crib away from any other furniture. 
  • If the crib is near a window, remove pull cords or use cord shorteners on window dressings. Those curious little arms like to reach out and cords can so easily get wrapped around your precious little one.
  • Use a firm, flat mattress in a safety-approved crib. Soft mattresses can create a pocket (or indentation) and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone (face down) position. Also, a solid mattress base provides the resistance necessary for developing and strengthening muscles. 
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from baby’s sleep area. Do not use bumpers, comforters, pillows, blankets and toys in the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. 

 

Your newborn baby will spend most of its time at home and in your car, and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for a baby to get into trouble. The first step in baby safety is making sure both of these places are completely safe for your newborn!

New Year Crib Safety Checklist For Parents

Becoming a new parent is a blessing in so many ways. Along with all of the amazing first moments, there are also challenges, such as keeping baby out of harm’s way. As 2021 brings new opportunities and refreshed priorities, let one of your resolutions be to keep your little one as safe as possible in their crib. 

 

Your baby will often be unattended when in his or her crib, so this should be a completely safe environment. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs. In 80 percent of these cases, babies were either sleeping in an adult bed or in their crib/bassinet with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, fluffy bumpers or loose clothing. 

 

With COVID-19 unfortunately being so widespread, it is one more potential stressor for babies and parents. So Colgate Mattress wants to lighten your load a bit by helping you make sure infants have the safest sleep environment possible. We encourage you to follow the below checklist from the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by The American Academy of Pediatrics: 

 

Back To Sleep For Every Sleep

  • Infants should be placed for sleep in a supine position (wholly on the back) for every sleep by every caregiver until the child reaches 1 year of age.  
  • Side sleeping is not safe and is not advised. 
  • Skin-to-Skin is care is recommended for all mothers and newborns, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth (as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake) for at least an hour. Thereafter, or when the mother needs to sleep or take care of other needs, infants should be placed supine in a bassinet. 

 

Use A Firm Sleep Surface

  • Infants should be placed on a firm sleep surface (eg, mattress in a safety-approved crib) covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. 
  • Infants should never be left to sleep on sofas, armchairs or in sitting devices. 
  • Soft bedding remains a risk for infants older than 4 months 

 

Keep Soft Objects And Loose Bedding Away From The Infant’s Sleep Area 

  • Soft objects such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and loose bedding can obstruct an infant’s nose and mouth.  
  • Infant sleep clothing is preferable to blankets and other coverings to keep the infant warm 
  • Bumper pads are similar products that attach to crib slats or sides are not recommended for infants. 
  • A large percentage of infants who die of SIDS are found with their head covered by bedding. Therefore, no pillows, sheets, blankets, or any other items that could obstruct infant breathing or cause overheating should be in the bed. 

 

Room Share Without Bed Sharing

  • Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface (room sharing). The infant’s crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet should be placed in the parent’s bedroom for at least 6 months, but preferably a year. 
  • Even though it is not recommended that infants sleep on the same surface as the parents, there are times when parents may fall asleep while feeding their infant. Evidence suggests that it is less hazardous to fall asleep with the infant in the adult bed than on a sofa or armchair, should the parent fall asleep.  
  • Because there is evidence that the risk of bedsharing is higher with longer duration, if the parent falls asleep while feeding the infant in bed, the infant should be placed back on a separate sleep surface as soon as the parent awakens. 

 

Explore more recommendations and relevant resources to create a safe sleep environment for your baby at The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website.

Colgate Supports Helping Babies Sleep Safely

Every year 3,600 infants die due to sleep-related deaths

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. Of those, about 90 percent of SIDS cases occur before baby hits the 6-month mark.

SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs. In 79 percent of these cases, babies were either sleeping in an adult bed or in their crib/bassinet with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, fluffy bumpers or loose clothing. 

These deaths can be prevented by following the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016.

What does a safe crib environment look like?

Did you receive the most beautiful handmade blanket or precious stuffed animal from a friend or family member? We know you may feel the desire to let your baby sleep with their cute gift, but keep it clean and simple when setting up your crib. 

Here are five tips to creating the safest sleep environment for your baby:

  1. Always lay your baby on his or her back in the crib. Babies should always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  2. Use a firm, flat mattress in a safety-approved crib. A firm surface maintains its shape and will not indent or conform to the shape of the infant’s head when placed on the surface. Soft mattresses can create a pocket (or indentation) and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone (face down) position. Also, the crib should not have bumper pads.
  3. Share your room with baby and keep baby close to your bed, but in their own crib or bassinet. Room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS. Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair alone, with you or with anyone else. Having a separate safe sleep surface for the baby reduces the risk of SIDS and the chance of suffocation, strangulation and entrapment.
  4. Keep baby’s sleeping area free of soft and loose bedding, such as bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets. Soft objects, such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, and loose bedding such non-fitted sheets, can obstruct an infant’s nose and mouth. An obstructed airway can pose a risk of suffocation, entrapment, or SIDS.
  5. If the crib is near a window, remove pull cords or use cord shorteners on window dressings. Those curious little arms like to reach out and cords can so easily get wrapped around your precious little one.

By following these simple guidelines, you can help reduce your infants’ risk of SIDS.

How can you help spread awareness?

We’re asking moms, dads and parent influencers to help model a safe sleep environment to generate visibility for unaware parents, grandparents and other caregivers and help them understand the vital importance of safe sleep practices.

By committing only to post images of babies in safe sleep situations you can become one of First Candle’s Safe Sleep Guardians. First Candle is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to reducing the rates of SIDS and educating new and expectant parents on the importance of providing a safe sleep environment for their baby. And for those families who have tragically lost a baby, they offer bereavement support and counsel.

Colgate Mattress has a longstanding relationship with First Candle and is honored to be a Safe Sleep Guardian. We encourage you to also show that you support First Candle and are committed to helping us save babies’ lives.