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resource centre - safety first
safety first!

Give your child a safe start

Having a new baby in the home is a learning experience for parents. During the first 12 months of its life, your baby will develop from barely lifting his/her head to wriggling, rolling, reaching, crawling and pulling him/herself up to standing. Follow the following safety tips and create a safer home for your baby:

Safety in the Car Warning! An adults lap is not safe when travelling!!!

  • Your baby should travel in a car seat from the very first car ride following birth.
  • Make sure you buy a car seat that fits correctly in your car and follow the manufacturers instructions for use.
  • Always use your child's car seat, even for short trips.
  • Use the correct car seat for your child's weight.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the car, even for a minute.

Falls Warning! Most accidents at nappy changing time happen when the baby falls off the changing unit or raised surface!!!

  • Babies can roll off changing tables or beds. Have everything you need to use close by when changing your baby.
  • Use safety gates at stairways and at open doors with steps.
  • Never leave your baby alone on any high surface (bed, chair, high chair, table).
  • While carrying baby, take care that you don't fall.
Burns Warning! A burn takes a second to occur, but a lifetime to overcome and can leave permanent scars!!!
  • Always fill the bath with cold water first and then add hot water. Test the temperature.
  • Put hot drinks well out of reach of grabbing hands. A cup of tea could scar for life. Therefore don't hold your baby and a hot drink at the same time.
  • Put tablecloths away, they can be pulled. Use place mats instead.
  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove and where possible use the back plates of your stove.
  • Always test the temperature of food and drinks. Be careful if you heat food in the microwave over, it could be very hot.
  • Keep candles, paraffin stoves and heaters well away from baby.
  • All fires should be properly guarded.
  • Place kettle cords out of baby's reach.
Electricity Warning! Electrical outlets, appliances and cords can be hazardous for your baby!!!
  • Avoid using an electric blanket for your baby.
  • Always cover unused electrical outlets/sockets with safety plugs.
  • Keep appliances unplugged when not in use.
  • Replace frayed electrical cords and keep cords out of your baby's reach.
Choking/Suffocation Warning! Small children put everything into their mouths!!!
  • Always stay with your baby at meal times or when eating or drinking.
  • Keep small objects such as buttons, beads, coins, peanuts and balloons out of reach.
  • Never use drawstrings or ribbons that tie tightly around head or necklines, they can easily pull tight.
  • Remove bib before baby goes to sleep.

Poisoning Warning! Most poisoning accidents occur to children under 5 years. They like to put everything into their mouths, but they don't know the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous substances!!!

  • Lock dangerous items such as medicines, cleaners, bleaches and paraffin out of baby's reach. Use child safety latches on cupboards if locks are not available.
  • Buy dangerous/poisonous substances in child-resistant packaging if available.
  • Use child safety caps on containers with paraffin.
  • Keep products in their original containers if possible.
  • Re-close dangerous products properly when not in use.
  • If you think your baby has swallowed something poisonous, phone your Poisons Information Centre if possible.
  • Beware of poisonous plants in the garden.

Drowning Warning! Small children can drown in as little as four centimetres of water!!!

  • Never leave small children unattended near any of the following:
  • Swimming pools/baby pools
  • Toilets
  • Baths
  • Nappy buckets
  • Fish ponds
  • Never leave baby alone in the bath, even if he/she can sit up.
  • Empty water from bath/buckets when not in use.
  • Use non-slip bath mats to prevent baby from slipping.
  • Fence all swimming pools, and use a pool net for safety.
Baby Walkers Warning! Baby walkers are not always safe and causes a lot of accidents!!!
  • Baby walkers let babies move very fast and makes them difficult to supervise.
  • These are not recommended as babies are injured by falling and reaching dangerous things such as stoves, plugs and stairs.
  • There is no evidence that babies would benefit from using a baby walker.
Bouncing Cradles Warning! Accidents happen when a cradle falls off a raised surface or if baby falls out!!!
  • Never put a cradle on a work surface or table, even a small baby can bounce and the cradle might fall off.
  • Always fasten safety straps.
  • Stop using cradle once baby can sit up or make vigorous movements or reaches 7 kgs.
Prams and High Chairs Warning! Baby can fall out if not properly secured!!!
  • Make sure the pram has brakes that work.
  • Always use a harness (safety straps) in high chairs and prams.
  • Make sure they do not have sharp edges or finger straps.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a pram or high chair.

    Toys Warning! Baby can choke on small toys!!!
  • Always check safety messages on packaging, e.g. recommended age.
  • Keep toys for older children away from younger ones.
  • Always remove plastic coverings.
  • Throw broken toys away and always tidy up all toys.
Dummies Warning! Accidents can occur when baby chokes on a piece of dummy or teat!!!
  • Check dummies and teats regularly for holes and tears.
  • Dummies and teethers should not be hung around a baby's neck on a cord or string, because of the risk of strangulation.
  • Use a safe strong dummy that won't come apart.
Information courtesy of Child Safe www.childsafe.org.za