September is Baby Safety Month, an awareness campaign sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of using straps on children’s products. Today, the leading cause of non-fatal injuries among young children is falls — but this campaign aims to end that.
Every day, about 8,000 children are treated in the emergency room for fall-related injuries, many of which could have been prevented by using proper protective restraints in children’s products. From sleeping to traveling to hanging around the house, children can easily be protected by their parents taking easy, simple steps to keep them safe.
The JPMA has hosted a Baby Safety Awareness campaign since 1986, with the week extending to a month-long campaign in 1986. Along the way, they’ve picked up several helpful hints to help keep your baby safe from unexpected injuries.
Here are some of the tips the association has provided to help you “strap in for safety”:
In the Car
Car seats are extremely important in keeping a child safe while driving. As with any children’s product, make sure to fully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. All straps should fit snugly and allow no slack or sagging. Chest clips should also fit snugly (with one finger between harness and shoulder) and be positioned in the mid- to upper-chest area near the armpits.
In a Stroller
The most important thing to remember with strollers is to always use straps, no matter how short a trip is. Children can easily climb up and out of the seat in a matter of seconds, leading to injury-causing falls. Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re securing all of the straps correctly. Any child who sits in a stroller should be secured by straps, no matter their age, and you should never leave them unsupervised.
In a Carrier
If you’re using a baby carrier, you’ll want to make sure your baby’s weight is distributed evenly and all safety straps are secure. Always keep one hand on the baby while adjusting straps or putting the baby in or taking them out of the carrier.
In a Swing, Infant Seat or Bouncer
Many parents enjoy the hands-off time that a swing, infant seat or bouncer can provide, but remember that it’s never “attention-off” time. Children should always be supervised while using these products. In addition, babies should always be buckled into these products securely (read the manufacturer’s instructions to do so correctly).
On a Changing Table
Changing a baby’s diaper is difficult enough, especially when they’re active and like to move around during the process. That’s why it’s so important that parents strap babies into changing tables to avoid them rolling off the table and causing serious harm to themselves. Always keep one hand on the baby while they’re on the table; you’ll need to make sure your supplies are within arm’s reach. And always make sure that your changing table, if it’s not a freestanding piece, is securely attached to the surface it’s placed on before putting your baby there.
In a High Chair
Children should never stand in high chairs, and the easiest way to prevent this is by using the straps that come with the product. Straps should be secured snugly, without allowing children to wiggle around in the chair. The crotch restraint strap will help prevent them from slipping down during meal time.
Other Safety Tips When Securing Your Child
As mentioned, just because a child is secured by straps does not mean that they don’t have to be under constant supervision. While straps can help prevent harm in case of a children’s product flipping over or falling, damage can still be done. After you strap your child into a product, make sure to always keep him or her in your sight, proximity and hearing.
To learn more about Baby Safety Month and how you can help spread awareness of this important topic, check out the organization’s website.