It's safe to assume that when it comes to their child's safety, most parents think they've got it covered. Once they plug all the outlets and guard all the doors, the rest is just common sense. Despite the best babyproofing efforts, however, unintentional injuries continue to be the leading cause of death for children of all ages.
"From a historical perspective, parents today are much better educated and more attuned to the needs of their children," says Bob Waller, president of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), which is sponsoring the 23rd annual Baby Safety Month this September in an effort to heighten consumer awareness of safety issues. "But keeping a child safe is an overwhelming responsibility, and there are slipups from the best of us."
Whether you're bringing up Baby No. 1 or are struggling to keep a handful out of harm's way, remember what most moms forget when it comes to their child's safety:
Stats Don't Lie
Babies have been surviving since the dawn of time, but today's modern conveniences are often considered the most dangerous. Parents thus rush to cover the baby bases: They all but cancel the utility bill to avoid possible electrocution, they cut the cords on the window blinds to stop any chance of strangulation, and they institute a no-plastic policy for fear that some small toy will cause choking.
After a study that looked closely at juvenile products and health issues, Kimberly Thompson, an associate professor of risk analysis at Harvard, discovered that such risks are actually less likely to be associated with child injury than other products in and outside the home. In fact, the risk of a child under age 10 dying from a toy was the same as his risk of suicide, which is nearly nonexistent. Apart from diseases, the biggest risk to a baby or child relates to motor vehicle accidents, followed by fire and drowning.