The Must Knows and Must Haves to Keeping Baby Safe
By Nataly Tormey
Safe Nursery Design
To begin with setting your nursery up for your baby it is all about making it pretty, what colour to paint the room, what theme will you choose and how you will decorate it. But part of setting up your nursery is making sure it is safe. Something’s to consider for safe design of a nursery include;
- Paint: If you are going to paint your nursery do it well before the due date and make sure you are using non-toxic paint
- Accessories: Accessories are not to be in, on or around a babies sleep space. As nice as they look they are hazardous for a baby. If you are hanging accessories or placing ornaments around the room also keep these out of reach from the floor space where your baby will be eventually playing in.
- Cords, lamps and monitors: Position them away from the cot and not within reach for your baby.
- Smoke Alarm: Check the smoke alarm in your babies room to make sure it is in good working order
Changing Table or Surface
Change tables are designed to assist you when you need to change your baby. There are three types of change tables being;
- Wooden or plastic table with tiers for storage
- Portable folding table with metal frame and fabric body
To ensure that your change table is safe you need to look out for;
- A change table that provides the option of a restraint and has a lip on the edges (recommended 100mm a minimum) to provide roll off protection. Please note this does not replace full supervision. A baby should never be left un-attended on a change table.
- Ensure there are no gaps near the changing surface where an infant can get their fingers jammed in or stuck.
- If you are using a portable option make sure that all locks in place are in working order and are secure.
Safety Tips When Changing Your Baby
- Always supervise your child and if you are needing to leave take your baby with you. Your baby is not to be left alone on a change table at any time
- Have all items you need when changing your baby prepared and in reach so you do not need to move away from the change space for any reason
- Keep items away from babies reach keep this area clear of anything including products or items such as lotions, nappy pins or products
- Place one hand on your child at all times to prevent them from falling.
- Use a safety harness if one is available
- Choose the right change mattress
Storage and other nursery furniture
When purchasing your furniture for your nursery it is important that you check that it meets the mandatory standards. Furniture you may consider buying include;
- High Chair
- Drawers and Storage Items
- Accessory furniture
All Australian products are to meet a set of standards however this does not mean that it is completely safe. You must still ensure that you take the time to read instructions and use the item that it is intended to be used for, utilising all safety measures of the equipment including safety straps and safety locking mechanisms. In addition, you should;
- Secure all furniture to the wall
- Safe proof all furniture
Information on safe cot standards is provided by Red Nose and further information on safe products can be found from Product Safety Australia.
Safe Toys and Baby Accessories
Toys are a fantastic way to interact your child through play and before your baby is born you are most likely going to already have a pile of them given as gifts or some you yourself have bought. Toys can be a hazard and a risk to children if they do no meet the current product safety standards and are not used in accordance of the recommendations and instructions of use. If you have purchased a toy from a reputable retailer you will be most likely be purchasing a toy that has been tested according to these standards, with smaller retailers and your small toys stores sometimes bypassing this important step. Either way before you introduce your toy to your child please read instructions and supervise when in use.
When storing toys make sure that any toys not recommended for your baby’s age is put away safely and not in reach. Toys can quickly become a hazard including a choking risk. When talking about toys we are also referring to baby accessories such as dummies, sleep aids, bottles and any equipment used for your baby.
Your baby regulates their temperature through the head and face. During sleep time follow Red Nose recommendations on safe sleep and temperature control. There is no need to keep heating and cooling on to regulate room temperature. You will regulate your baby’s temperature through their clothing making sure it is appropriate for the temperature around them. It is advised to dress them similarly to the way you would dress yourself – not too hot or too cold, comfortably warm.
For the first few months you will be waking regularly during the night. Before you sleep and turn the lights of it is a good idea to prepare what you will be requiring throughout the night and leave on adequate lighting. A night light would suffice for areas you might be utilising throughout the night, including areas where you will prepare feeds and change baby.
Safe floor space:
For you and your baby’s safety clear any clutter in main areas in use or areas you will be walking through. You want to avoid any trip hazards whilst carrying your baby. Things you might want to clear may include cords, furniture, toys on the floor, slippery surfaces and floor rugs.
Before you know it your baby will be up and about. It is a natural part of their development to explore their environments and one things that becomes easy to touch and access is electrical outlets and accessories. It is very important that you use safe proofing methods to clear away any cords and to cover any outlets. Check if your home has an active safety switch to protect your child if an electrical accident was to occur.
Windows and Doors:
It is advised to keep sleep spaces away from windows where there is blinds and cords are within the child’s reach. Windows are safest if they are made from safety glass. Windows that are built recently will utilise safety glass as when it breaks it will shatter into large blunt chunks rather than sharp edges. Any windows that are not made from safety glass will require a safety film to provide protection. All windows should have a window lock on them.
You want to protect you babies fingers from getting jammed in the door. As they develop they will want to show off their skills in opening and closing doors, and this includes any drawers. Door latches and C-shaped foam can be used as prevention and for protection.
Any furniture storage such as drawers should be secured to the wall and tested to prevent any furniture fall risk. It is a common injury for a piece of furniture to fall and result in falling on a child whether it has been climbed on by the child or it is unbalanced.
All items that are child is not to have access to should be stored safely, and also put at a height that the child can not reach.
Before thinking about what is the most perfect room colour for your baby, choosing the most perfect outfit, or event what type of pram THINK about how to keep your baby safe. WWC Ed. Parentmedic Ambassadors can assist you in learning about Baby Safety during our community education sessions – if you need help, be sure to ask.