Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years
Safety Measures Outside the Home
You cannot protect your child from every danger he or she can possibly encounter outside the home. But you can take reasonable Reference precautions and teach your child basic safety rules. This general training can help prepare your child for many situations he or she may face.
Prevent accidents by using safe equipment, teaching safety awareness, and closely supervising your child.
Basic safety precautions
- Reference Help your child become "street smart." Teach your child the basic rules about the dangers of cars and streets.
- Reference Prevent sunburn. If you can't keep your baby out of the sun, cover your child's skin with hats and clothing. Protect any bare skin with a small amount of sunscreen. It's safest to keep babies younger than 6 months out of the sun. To learn more, see the topic Reference Sunburn. And be careful that your child does not develop Reference heat exhaustion from being out in warm temperatures. Small bodies can develop these problems much more quickly than adults. Do not keep your child out in warm weather for long periods, and keep water or other drinks on hand. To learn more, see the topic Reference Heat-Related Illnesses.
- Use Reference insect repellents to prevent bites and stings. Also, take action to Reference lower your child's chances of being stung by an insect by having your child wear socks, closed shoes, and clothes that fully cover his or her body when outdoors. To learn more, see Reference Insect Bites and Stings and Spider Bites.
- Reference Teach your child swimming safety. Make sure that your child knows how to behave while in and around water. If you live near irrigation canals, teach your child not to play in or near them.
Choosing child care
Before your child visits an unfamiliar home, ask the homeowner whether you need to be aware of any dangerous areas, pets, or other safety issues. It is always a good idea to see the household for yourself. Don't be afraid to voice any concerns you have about safety. You are ultimately responsible for protecting your child.
Before enrolling your child in day care, evaluate the environment and talk with care providers. Reference Ask questions about their safety guidelines. Identify any hazards, and ask how they are handled. For more information, see the topic Reference Choosing Child Care.
Going along for the ride: Exercising caution
When you include your child in your activities, be sure to recognize the related safety issues. And focus on your child's comfort and safety.
- Reference Always use a car seat and have your child ride in the backseat of your car. Car accidents are the leading cause of death and injury in young children. Follow basic guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). See the AAP website at www.healthychildren.org.
- Never leave your child alone in a car. Heat inside the car and other factors could cause long-lasting injury—or death—in a matter of minutes. Keeping the car windows down won't protect your child in hot or warm weather. Other injuries could also occur from a child getting stuck in the trunk or setting the car in motion.
- Reference Keep your child safe in strollers and carts. Use the safety straps, and follow the printed instructions. It's safest not to put children in shopping carts at all.
- Reference Monitor air pollution when planning to take your child outdoors. Children's lungs are especially sensitive to pollution. You can check your newspaper or local weather station for details about air pollution levels.
- Watch for physical signs that show it's safe to gradually include your child in your activities. When children can run or climb, it's usually a good sign that they are getting stronger and can keep their balance. Before and after these signs appear, use good judgment for your baby's comfort and safety.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 25, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics