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Baby Safety Precautions Every New Parent Must Know

In Australia, the most common causes of child injuries are falls, road accidents, drowning, poisonings, and burns and scalds. Of course we can’t (and nor should we) protect our little ones from all of life’s normal bumps, bruises, scrapes, and falls that come with being a healthy, active, curious child.

With some practical steps, planning, active supervision, and first-aid training, most of the more serious injuries can be prevented.

Here is your basic baby safety checklist which every new parent must know:

Burns and scald prevention

  • Keep your baby away from hot surfaces (for example, oven, stove, heaters).

  • Hot food and drink must be kept away from and out of reach of children.

  • Always test bath water temperature before bathing your baby (the safest temperature is 37-38 degrees).

Electrocution prevention

  • Use power point covers.

  • Get a licensed electrician to do any repairs and to install safety switches that cut power off quickly.

  • Replace worn appliances and cords.

Falls prevention

  • Watch your baby’s movements in the home, and adjust your home accordingly. Safety gates to block stairs and balconies, for example.

  • Don’t leave a baby unattended on raised surfaces, such as change tables, couches, or beds. Baby changing tables should have safety straps and/or railings to prevent the baby from falling off.

Furniture safety

  • Look for safe baby furniture and equipment with the Australian Standards mark.

  • Anchor furniture to the wall or floor to prevent tipping.

  • Brace or strap TVs to the wall or entertainment unit.

  • Remove furniture with sharp corners, or pad the corners with foam or corner protectors.

Tool safety

  • Lock away any tools, and keep lawnmowers out of reach.

  • Make sure your baby isn’t present when you use tools.

  • Unplug tools when not in use.

Fire safety

  • Ensure that all smoke alarms work, and that there is one outside or even inside the sleeping areas of the home. Test your smoke alarms each month.

  • Open fire places should have a secured grate surrounding it that cannot be pulled upon

Poisoning prevention

  • Children are often poisoned by common household chemicals and medicine, so store them up high in a locked cabinet.

  • Use child-safety locks on cupboards that store cleaning products.

Strangulation prevention

  • Never tie a dummy or any other objects on a string around a baby’s neck. Check dummies and teats frequently to ensure the nipple-part can’t be sucked off and swallowed. The guard or shield around the nipple of the dummy should be larger than the baby’s mouth and should have ventilation holes so the baby could breathe if it did get in there.

  • Keep any toys on strings, curtain and blind cords, laundry bags or other objects with strings away from baby’s reach or cot and away from newborns to prevent strangulation. This includes no mobiles in cots.

Suffocation prevention

  • Remove unnecessary objects from the cot, bassinet or playpen when the baby sleeps to prevent suffocation. That means no cot bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals, or comforters.

  • All infant sleep, day and night, must be supervised for at least the first 12 months.

  • Mattresses should fit tightly up against the sides and there should be no gaps in cots or bassinets.

  • Tie knots in plastic bags, and keep them out of reach of children.

Water safety

  • Never leave a child unsupervised around water, including a bucket of water.

  • If you have a pool, by law you must have a pool fence and gate that meets Australian Standard AS:1926.

  • Never leave a baby alone in a bath or without your full attention, and never leave older siblings to supervise.

Choking prevention

  • Do not put the baby to bed with a bottle. Babies can choke or acquire ear infections, tooth decay and other dental troubles from having something in their mouths overnight.

  • Keep small toys away from small babies. Toys go automatically into mouths and choking can, and does, result. Be especially careful of older toys with parts that can be pulled off, like teddy bear eyes, or parts that can break into small pieces.

  • Do not use baby powder or talcum on a newborn because it can be inhaled into the baby’s lungs.

  • Always ensure that your baby is sitting upright when eating, and never leave them unsupervised. Don’t offer foods that pose obvious choking risks. Find out more here.

Pram safety

  • Ensure your pram or stroller has a 5 point harness. Strollers should have a wide base to prevent tipping and brakes that work.

  • Never cover a pram with a blanket or wrap because it reduces air circulation. Read more here.

Car safety

  • Never, not even once, take your baby in the car without him or her being strapped in the car seat, and the car seat properly belted in the car according to the manufacturer’s directions. And never use a carrier device or sling-type seat as a car seat. A low impact crash may not hurt an adult, but can prove fatal to an unsecured newborn.

  • Rear-facing restraints are recommended as the safest option for children up to four years of age. Read more about it here.


Baby Proofing And Child Safety Products


Most parents readily anticipate the day when their baby starts to move around but soon learn that the baby’s new milestones can expose them to a world of dangers. Baby proofing your home is a big must when you are living with an active baby. Keep in mind that maintaining your baby’s safety at home becomes more challenging as your baby starts increasing their mobility.

Take all the precautionary measures and steps in order to make your home is the safest place for your baby. So, prepare yourself by childproofing your house especially the nursery, kitchen, bathroom, and other areas with baby safety measures before your baby’s crawling, reaching, and running.

What Are The Best Baby Proofing Products?

There are a lot of child safety products available on the market that can help protect your baby. Or, if you can afford, you can have a professional child proofer to install and place baby safety devices for you.

Baby Gates

Safety gates help you protect your child or baby with gate barriers to keep your child safe. It also sets a safe zone for your child to move. In buying a safety gate for your child or baby, you have to make sure that there are no hazardous gaps or openings, narrower slat spacing, finger and toe holds, and top edge protrusions. A good baby gate must also endure an impact with the gate not being destroyed or dislodged.

Baby Cot Safety

Baby cots provide a comfortable, safe place for your baby to sleep into. There is a wide array of available styles and options of baby cots these days, but picking a perfect baby cot can be a frustrating task. Make sure that the baby cot you are about to purchase meets the Australian quality standards.

  • The bars or panels should be spaced between 50mm and 95mm apart – bigger gaps can trap a baby’s head, arms or legs.

  • Check that there are no spaces between 30mm and 50mm that could trap your child’s arms or legs. Check that there are no small holes or openings between 5mm and 12mm that could trap your child’s fingers.

  • Place the cot in a safe spot and use locking brakes on cots with castor wheels.

  • Never use electric blankets or hot water bottles for babies or young children.

  • Don’t hang anything like pictures or mirrors nearby, as there is a danger of the item falling into the cot. Do not leave mobiles or toys with stretch or elastic cords within reach of your child.

  • Bumpers and toys placed in your babies cot may look appealing but these items have been identified as products that can reduce the air flow to a small baby which can be a contributing factor related to the cause of SIDS. They can also act as climbing aid for the child to climb out of the cot so best to keep the cot uncluttered.

  • Do not use pillows for children under two years old. It is safer not to use a pillow at all for children younger than two or until they are moved to a big beg bed.

  • Follow the SIDS recommendations when investing in linen and making your baby’s cot and definitely no cot bumpers to be used in the cot.

  • Regularly check that nuts and bolts are tight, as per the maintenance instructions supplied with the cot.

  • Before your baby can sit up you can adjust the cot to ‘baby’ (to the highest position) to avoid adult back pain, but lower the cot to the lowest position just before your baby starts sitting up.

Outlet Plugs

This product is a very good idea for baby proofing. It is a fact that it’s easy for babies to insert their little fingers into the outlet or babies are holding a stick or toys that makes it very dangerous. Outlet plugs are installed very easily and very cheap.

Child Safety Locks

Child safety locks are ideal for securing cabinet doors in situations where drilling into the cabinets is not possible. This is designed to prevent your baby from getting in contact with dangerous substances. Child safety locks and straps make it possible to provide a safe environment for children of all ages, by protecting them from electrical sockets, drawers with cleaning supplies, and just about anything that can be harmful to a child.

It is important that you choose the right kind of child adhesive mounted locks for the appropriate places that you want to secure for your child. In purchasing child safety locks, parents must take notice of the material of the lock itself. The advantage of this type of lock is it doesn’t need other devices for installation and they are easily removed without damaging the furniture.

TV and furniture tip overs

Every year many children are injured from furniture or appliances tipping onto them. Children are naturally inquisitive and will not always use furniture as it is intended – for example, they may use bookcases and shelves to pull them selves up on or as a ladder to gain access to reach an item that is stored up high.

Here are some simple measures you can take around your home to keep your children safe, including:

  • Choosing furniture items with a broad and stable base

  • Testing the stability of furniture to make sure it is stable (e.g. pull out top drawers of a chest of drawers and apply a little pressure to see how stable it is; make sure the drawers do not fall out easily)

  • Securing any unstable furniture and items to the wall or floor with furniture brackets and/or anchors (some furniture products will come with these products, otherwise you can purchase them from hardware stores)

  • Placing locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps

  • Not placing heavy items on the top shelves or in top drawers as this can make furniutre unstable

  • Removing items from the top of the TV or furniture that might tempt young children to climb, such as toys, lollies and remote controls.

  • Anchoring your flat screen TV to the wall or cabinet

  • Pushing the TV as far back as possible on the TV stand

Keep In Mind

Never leave your child unattended in a place where their curiosity can lead them into a dangerous situation. For further safety information see Kidsafe’s website

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