Around the house
- Make sure floors are clear of choking hazards and other dangerous items, such as toy parts, plastic bags, coins, toxic plants and any sharp objects.
- Keep drapery and blind cords, lamp cords and tablecloth corners out of your child's reach.
- Cover sharp furniture edges with rubber protectors.
- Use safety plugs in unused outlets, and use plug and surge protector covers as well.
- Reduce the temperature of your hot water to a maximum of 120 degrees F to prevent tap water scalds.
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, avoiding accordion-style gates, which can trap a child's arm or neck. Choose horizontal gates with slats that are 2 3/8 inches apart.
- Open windows from the top only, or install window bars or screens that only an adult can push out. Keep fronts of windows clear of chairs, sofas, tables and anything else a child might climb to get to a window.
- Keep glass doors and washer and dryer doors shut. Mark glass doors with decals to prevent collisions.
If you use a crib
- Choose a new crib that conforms to federal safety standards.
- Make sure the crib and mattress support have no broken, loose or missing screws or brackets. Check that slats are secure and spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
- The headboard and footboard should be free of cutouts, which could trap a child's head.
- Corner posts should not be more than 1/16 of an inch above the crib's end panels.
- The mattress should be firm and fit snugly, with no more than two fingers' width between the mattress edge and the side of the crib.
- Use only a crib sheet, mattress pad and/or waterproof pad between your sleeping child and the crib mattress.
- Select firm bumper pads that fit around the entire crib, and tie or snap securely into place. Use bumper pads only until your child is able to pull up to a standing position, then remove them so your child doesn't use them as a step to climb out of the crib.
- To prevent your baby from chewing on bumper straps, ties or ribbons, or becoming entangled, trim off any excess length after the strap is tied.
- Place quilts, comforters and blankets on top of, never underneath, your sleeping child.
- Place a healthy infant on her back to sleep ‑- and never on soft surfaces such as pillows and sofa cushions, which are not designed for infant sleep.
- Remove pillows, toys and all other items from the crib while your baby is sleeping or unattended.
- Locate the crib away from windows.
If you use a changing table
- Collect baby care items ahead of time and keep them within your reach and out of your baby's.
- Use a safety strap to restrain your baby on the changing table.
- Never turn your back on your baby or leave her unattended on the table, even when strapped in.