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5 Ways to Protect Your Baby From Common Safety Hazards

5 Ways to Protect Your Baby From Common Safety Hazards

Becoming a parent surely is one of the absolute highlights of the human experience. Your world starts revolving around your newly-formed family and the happiness that you feel during this time of your life is immense.

Having this in mind, you certainly wouldn’t do anything to compromise this situation, so one of the main things to think about is the security and well-being of your newborn. Keeping your baby safe is a challenging job, no doubt about it.

There are many different child safety hazards, and most parents tend to overlook some potentially dangerous situations. Inside or outside of your home, you can never be too cautious. I am not trying to make you paranoid or fearful, just more aware of these harmful possibilities.

Don’t get too stressed about this; I assure you that peace of mind is possible and that your parenting ‘career’ will be even more joyful by taking care of the following hazards.

Here are a few potential dangers that you’ll face during the growth of your baby and simple, yet effective solutions for them.

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1. Choking and suffocation

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    Image Credit: Caitlin Regan, Flickr

    Many parents will put this hazard as one of the first that come to mind when the baby comes, so we simply had to address it. There are many occasions where your child can start choking, and many young moms are on alert from the day one. The small objects, feeding, sleeping, all can potentially interrupt the infant’s breathing and create an unpleasant situation.

    If possible, avoid any toys that might have small parts that can be detachable, or possible to get ripped out by the child. We’re talking eyes, buttons, gears, wheels, and screws.

    While feeding, try to be extra careful and put small portions into baby’s mouth. Provide a comfortable feeding position to your child, ideally rocked in a fine nursery glider chair. It will help you during feeding and sleepless nights. Develop a habit of using it, as it will benefit you greatly, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

    Sleeping – don’t put your baby to sleep on the stomach. Sudden infant death syndrome might occur if your child sleeps like this. Remember not to sleep with your child, no matter how cautious you think you are. Both the surface of your bed and your possible movements during sleep can harm the baby.

    2. Homes of friends who don’t have children

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      Image Credit: Josh Engroff, Flickr

      Being a new parent doesn’t mean that you are not going to socialize or visit your friends anymore. The chances are that some of your single or even married friends don’t have kids; you should know that their homes aren’t as baby-proof as yours. This means that your toddler’s safety might be compromised if you let them roam freely around this new environment.

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      So, what can you do to keep the baby secure so you can enjoy a chat and a cup of coffee with your friend carefree?

      Besides keeping your child near you all the time, the best solution is to set up a play yard because this will limit your baby’s moving space. To keep them entertained, throw in their favorite toys and some snacks in there. You can buy a foldable play yard and bring it along with you, or just leave it at your friend’s place if you visit there often.

      3. Crowded places

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        Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr

        Busy places like malls are always full of attractions and interesting stuff your toddler will most certainly like to explore. When they learn to walk, children enjoy discovering things; this is where they can get in trouble, injured, or lost. You don’t want to go through the stress having a lost child wandering the mall.

        To handle this situation without going bonkers, you can make small cards with information about the toddler yourself, and your cell phone number. Attach this card to the child’s clothing at a visible place, so if it gets lost anyone can contact you.

        Some moms go a step further and use harnesses which can draw some unwanted looks and judgment, but it is ok. Children can be quite active and full of energy so maintaining the constant supervision is sometimes hard. Opinions on this option are divided, and you can use it on your terms – if you think it’s good, use it. If not, don’t. Simple as that.

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        4. Transportation

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          Image Credit: Intel Free Press, Flickr

          For safe drives with your toddler, installing a baby car seat is a must. The problem happens when people set up the seat front-facing, which means turned towards the windshield. Why is this a mistake?

          Well, everyone should be aware that the small child’s spine and ligaments are still developing, and their heads are still large in proportion to their bodies which makes their stability low. A solution which can provide suitable support is to put the seat rear-facing.

          In a case of a car accident, research has shown that setting up the seat this way will reduce the chance of injuries up to five times, for children of two years or younger. Even when your kids grow older than two, it is still a good idea to keep them facing the back seat. Make sure that you learn more about car seat safety, and drive with a cool head afterward.

          One of the big problems in this area arises when the child learns to unbuckle the harness by itself. During this stage, you need to teach the child the basics of safety by either adding reward system or putting some educational cartoons for the child’s attention.

          5. Bathing

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            Image Credit: Dean Wissing, Flickr

            Did you know that infants can drown in the water two-inch deep? A lot of cases of drowning were reported in the past years, with not caring as the main reason for this horrific fact.

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            To avoid this, manufacturers came up with the idea to build and sell infant bath seats, which can help in the process, keeping the baby secured and unable to move. Unfortunately, these proved to be not so reliable, as the suction cups on the bottom tend to detach, trapping the baby underwater.

            The simplest solution is – never to leave your baby unattended, especially during bath time. The most common scenario that happens is that parent forgets something necessary for the baby’s bath time and thinks “I’ll just run to get that quick, nothing’s going to happen.

            Don’t do this. Be prepared in advance to prevent this scenario from happening. Have everything necessary for the baby bath near and ready before you start.

            Don’t forget to babyproof your tub with a rubber mat. When your infant is old enough to stand, never allow her to stand in the tub.

            Safety first

            Having a toddler can be stressful sometimes, yet it brings the biggest joy in a lifetime. We can never be too safe, but on the other hand, if we take care enough, our lives can be pretty great.

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            Published on May 21, 2021

            Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

            Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

            Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

            If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

            How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

            Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

            • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
            • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
            • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
            • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
            • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

            Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

            Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

            Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

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            You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

            Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

            Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

            Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

            • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
            • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
            • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
            • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
            • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

            Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

            Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

            There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

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            • Excessive sleepiness during the day
            • Difficulty waking up on time
            • Hyperactivity
            • Depression
            • Inattention
            • Mood swings
            • Aggressive behavior
            • Irritability
            • Impatience
            • Impulse control

            As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

            How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

            Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

            For Babies

            Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

            Gentle Sleep Training

            This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

            1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

            Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

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            Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

            2. Sleep With Parental Presence

            With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

            Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

            More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

            You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

            Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

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            • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
            • Block blue light exposure.
            • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
            • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
            • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
            • Avoid late afternoon naps
            • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
            • Feed baby right before bed.
            • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

            For Elementary-Aged Children

            It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

            These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

            • Offer them a nutritious snack.
            • Bathe them.
            • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
            • Read them a story.
            • Sing them a song.
            • Cuddle or massage them.
            • Talk about the day.

            For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

            For Teens

            They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

            • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
            • Limit screen time.
            • Avoid late-night binging.
            • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
            • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
            • Talk through problems.

            Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

            Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

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            Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
            [2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
            [3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
            [4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
            [5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
            [6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
            [7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
            [8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
            [9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
            [10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

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