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Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
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Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
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Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)

Baby Safety Continued

Angela Oswalt, MSW

Car Safety

baby in carseatMake sure infants are always buckled in safely in an approved car seat when a car is moving. The safest place for infants to ride in a car is the middle of the back seat. Parents may prefer having babies in the front seat so that they can watch and soothe their babies, but this is a very dangerous spot for infants in case of an accident. Babies and children under the age of twelve should never ride in the front of a car with activated air bags. It's safer for parents to pull over to console a crying baby than to bring them up front while continuing to drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reports that 80 percent of car seats are used or installed improperly. Caregivers should be careful in reading car seat installation and use directions, and can go to any police station to have the car seat installation and use checked for accuracy. Children will need different car seats as they grow taller and gain weight.

Safety on the Move

As babies become more mobile and start to develop their gross and fine motor skills, they will want to grab, climb, put into their mouth, and play with anything they can. Parents and caregivers need to childproof their homes to prevent the baby from having access to poisonous substances, items that could burn them, items they could choke on or otherwise hurt them, and objects they could trip over while walking. For more information on childproofing a home for children of all ages, see the see childproofing article for more information.

Preparing for the Worst

Even when parents take all the precautions possible, accidents do happen, and they need to be prepared for those times as well. It's better to be prepared and never use certain skills than to be unprepared and not have certain skills when they are needed. Keep a list of important phone numbers by the phone at all times, such as the Poison Control Hotline, emergency medicine, the pediatrician, and other important caregivers or family members. Parents and caregivers should be certified in infant and child CPR and First Aid so that they can provide rescue breathing and CPR, dislodge items from the airway of a choking child, and provide basic first aid. Both the Red Cross and the American Heart Association provide these certifications. While these techniques save lives every day, they can also be harmful if done incorrectly. It's important to take a course ahead of time in order to learn and to practice correct techniques before they are needed and to have to depend on a diagram and intuition in the stress of a life-threatening event.