Baby Safety at iVillage.com

Rick Locker, legal counsel to JPMA and who is involved with the American Society for Testing and Materials, finds it contradictory how many parents will be overly cautious about certain, highly unlikely things but will not insist on the use of safety belts, car seats and bicycle helmets when they're on the road and will leave their child alone in the bathroom while they answer the door. "When you're around the household, think about the toilet bowl and bathtubs," Locker says.

Be the Baby
What better way to understand a baby than to act like one? "Crawl on the floor and wander around," suggests Waller. "Sure, it's a pain in the neck, but it puts you at the perfect eye level for a child and helps you identify red flags and understand why products are designed the way they are."

Get down on your hands and knees, and as you spot potentially dangerous situations — a hanging lamp cord, a sharp corner of a table or a cabinet with toxic cleaning products — make note. If possible, enlist your husband or a friend to help with your baby march, and simply shout the problems out as you go so they can write them down. Then switch places to be sure you covered everything.

Becoming one with your baby doesn't end there.

"I always find that what's most challenging for parents is to use the appropriate supervision for whatever environment their child is in," says Dave Campbell, JPMA's safety consultant. It might not seem that complicated, but Campbell, who worked with children's products at Fisher-Price for 24 years and has been involved in the safety-standards development process for two decades, finds that most injuries are a result of inadequate supervision. For instance, if your bundle of joy was just fed, he might be less energetic and more interested in just sitting and observing than he would be right before mealtime.

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