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Babies do not come with parachutes

Published in For the Health of It Author: Melissa C. Erickson, MSN Ed., BSN, RNC-MNN, PHN, Nurse Clinician

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every day.

The majority of infant falls occur at home. Usually, these are a result of falling from an elevated surface such as a bed, sofa, chair, stairs or changing table. The best way to prevent injury is to watch, listen and stay near your child.

Tips to keep your baby safe:

  1. If you are feeling sleepy, place your baby in the crib/bassinet. You could fall asleep and drop your infant.
  2. Never leave your child alone while he or she is on a high surface like a changing table or bed. Always keep one hand on your child while you change him/her.
  3. Infants — even those who have never rolled over — and young children should not be left unattended. While there is no equal substitution for direct supervision, if you do need to step away from your baby for a short time, put him or her in a safe place such as a crib or playpen.
  4. Crib sides should be kept up and firmly secured while your baby is in a crib.
  5. Child safety devices, like safety belts and straps, should always be used when available. This will reduce the risk of your child falling out of a car seat, high chair, carrier or shopping cart.
  6. Always place infant seats on a hard surface — preferably the floor — with the seat belt fastened. Never put a baby in an infant seat on a soft surface such as a couch or an unstable surface.
  7. Move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls.
  8. Secure TVs and furniture to the wall using mounts, brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps to prevent tipping over.
  9. Use approved infant safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs and attach them to the wall. Remember to read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels to make sure you have the right gate for your needs. Not all gates are safe for use at the top of the stairs.

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