September 9, 2003
Steinhaus Declares September Baby Safety Month
County Executive William R. Steinhaus
declares September Baby Safety Month, reminding residents to keep their homes
free from hidden hazards. “The home is one of the most dangerous places for a
child. When preparing a loving environment for a baby, make safety a
priority,” said Steinhaus.
Steinhaus reported that each year in the United States, approximately 2,700
children ages 14 and under die and nearly 4.5 million are injured where they
should feel safest—in the home. “Seventy percent of these deaths are among
children ages four and under,” he said.
In observance of Baby Safety Month in September, the Dutchess County
Department of Health offers the following suggestions to help give babies a
safe and healthy start:
- If living in a home or apartment built before 1978, contact a lead abatement
professional to check all painted walls for lead.
Lead paint should be completely removed or covered with an approved sealant.
Smooth, washable floors, instead of shag carpeting, are recommended,
because they are easier to keep clean.
If choosing carpeting, select a flat design in a synthetic fiber, such as
Always secure area rugs with non-skid backing to prevent slips, trips and
Use only cribs that meet national safety standards. Look for the
certification label from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
- Choose a crib with no more than 2 ⅜ inches of space between the slats or the
spindles. Be certain there are no missing slats or spindles to prevent
entrapment or strangulation.
- Test the latches on the sides of the crib to make sure the baby cannot open
them, causing the side to drop. Be certain they work properly and are safe
from unintentional release.
- Always keep the side rail locked in its top position when the baby is in the
- Use vinyl or cloth pads to keep the baby from bumping against the sides of
the crib. Secure the pads with snaps or at least six straps tied securely to
the outside of the crib, away from the baby.
- As soon as the baby can pull up or stand, remove the bumper pads, toys and
other objects that could be used to climb out of the crib.
- Do not use a crib that has any corner post extensions or protrusions greater
than one-sixteenth inch, including decorative knobs.
- Never allow a baby to use a pillow, and make sure soft bedding, plastic bags
or other plastic materials are not in or around the crib.
Place the crib away from radiators, heating vents, windows, window blind
strings, drapery cords or other hanging strings.
Avoid placing the crib within a baby’s reach of dressers, decorations, lamps
and cords, especially if the baby can pull up or stand.
- Always place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep.
- Mattresses must fit snugly against all four sides of the crib. If more than
two adult fingers fit between the edge of the mattress and the crib, the
mattress is too small.
- Check regularly to ensure that all four mattress support hangers are
securely held in hooks attached to the corner posts.
- Before placing a mattress in the crib, remove and discard all plastic
wrappings. Make certain the baby cannot climb out of the crib when the
mattress is in it.
- Avoid furniture with sharp edges.
- Never leave a child unattended on a bed, counter or changing table.
- Keep one hand on the child at all times.
- Bolt bookshelves and heavy furniture to walls to keep them from tipping
- Child proof all hanging cords.
TOYS AND MOBILES
- Only baby toys should be given to the baby! Babies should never play with
toys belonging to older siblings. These toys may contain small and/or
detachable parts that can be removed and swallowed.
- Avoid strings on any product for a baby.
- Remove all toys from the crib when your baby is asleep. This includes
stuffed animals, which may pose a suffocation risk.
- Remove mobiles as soon as your child can push up on his or her hands and
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