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One of your most important tasks as a parent is to create a safe and secure environment for your baby. At first it's sufficient to make sure toys and equipment are safe and to follow such common-sense rules as installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. You need to be more vigilant, however, when your child turns into a rolling, scooting, crawling, toddling adventurer. You'll need to know about safe movement, burns, choking, sleep safety, water safety and poisons.
- If you use an infant seat, be sure it has a wide, sturdy base, use safety straps and always place it on the floor rather than on a counter or table. Infant seats can tip over and cause head injuries.
- Keep your hand on your baby if you've placed her on a high surface. Even babies younger than five months can wriggle and roll off beds, sofas, changing tables and counters.
- Get a highchair with a wide base to guard against tipping. Make sure that your baby is strapped securely into the chair and can't slide or climb out.
- Make sure furniture can't be tipped over as your baby begins pulling herself up. Bolt bookcases and cabinets to the wall and anchor televisions as well.
- Close reclining chairs when not in use, and supervise children around them - they can trap legs, arms, etc.
- Use place mats instead of tablecloths, which can be pulled off tables and on to you baby along with everything else on the table.
- Be sure that there are no airtight cupboards, chests or deep toy boxes where your baby could be trapped.
- Use safety gates to block off stairs, but avoid the old-fashioned accordion gates with diamond-shaped openings that can trap a baby's head. Be sure your gates are securely bolted, not pressure mounted.
- Lock adult exercise machines out of your baby's way.
- Note that baby walkers give instant mobility to infants and can be dangerous.