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Home Safety

Did you know:

The most common types of preventable accidents for babies are falls, choking and burns. Find out how baby-safe your home is with our home safety checklists.

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Preventing falls for children 0-1 year

0-4 Months

  • Physical Abilities
    • Wiggles, and squirms
    • Starts to roll over, turns from back to side
    • Kicks and pushes
    • Reaches for objects
    • Holds objects in hands
      May support weight on arms
    • May suck on toys and objects in mouth
    • Makes uncoordinated movements
  • Emotional-Social Abilities
    • Begins to smile
    • Expects to be comforted
    • Likes to suck on things in mouth
    • Likes musical toys, rattles, mobiles
    • Likes objects of different colours, sizes and textures
  • Safety Issues
    • Keep one hand on baby when he/she is on a surface above the floor (e.g. change table, sofa)
    • Place furniture away from windows

4-8 Months

  • Physical Abilities
    • Eats soft food (after 6 months)
    • Learns to sit without help
    • Begins to crawl
      Can push-up on all fours
    • May stand with support
    • Begins to pick up small objects, such as, lint and paperclips
    • Passes objects from hand to hand
  • Emotional-Social Abilities
    • Turns to sounds coming from behind
    • Copies gestures and sounds
    • Actions start to have a purpose, e.g., reach for colourful objects
    • Looks for objects that are covered
    • Likes to roll over and explore
    • Likes to shake, feel and bang things
    • Likes to stack toys and blocks
    • Interested in reactions and moving things around
    • Responds to own name
    • Likes to use fingers and thumb
  • Safety Issues:
    • Lower the crib’s mattress
    • Remove unsteady furniture and move furniture away from windows and balconies
    • Place high chair away from appliances, walls and counters
    • Put in bolted safety gates at top and bottom of stairs

8-12 Months

  • Physical Abilities
    • Begins to explore and will separate from parents for a short time
    • Copies sounds like coughs and clicks
    • Will jump on moving toys
    • Interested in small objects
    • Takes things out of containers
    • Likes a bigger play space
    • Likes banging things together
    • Likes playing with water and sand
    • Begins to understand simple requests like “no!”
  • Physical Abilities
    • “Bum” shuffles or crawls
    • Uses furniture to balance when standing and moving around
    • Takes things out of containers
    • Picks up tiny objects
    • May take first steps by self
    • Falls often while trying to walk
    • May start to climb
  • Safety Issues:
    • Arrange furniture to prevent climbing
    • Remove wheels from all furniture
    • Always use the restraint strap on stroller, high chair, etc.
    • Install safety guards on windows and balcony doors
    • Never leave baby unattended on porch, balcony or outside
    • Do not use baby walkers

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Choking and Burns

Preventing choking

  • Do not prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth.
  • Keep small objects out of your baby's reach.
  • Do not put a pacifier string or necklace around your baby's neck.

Preventing burns

  • Test your baby's bathwater - it should feel warm, not hot.
  • Turn your hot water heater temperature down to 48°C (120°F). Your tap water should not be hotter than 43°C (110°F).
  • Never hold your baby when smoking, drinking something hot, or cooking.
  • Make sure that you have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors with charged batteries and a fire extinguisher that works.

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Shaken baby syndrome

Never shake a baby

Shaking a baby can cause brain damage or death.

Listening to a baby cry for long periods of time can be very frustrating for parents. If you feel like you might lose control:

  1. Place your child safely in the crib
  2. Take a time-out and leave your baby's room for a few minutes
  3. Call someone to come and help you if possible.

Tips to help reduce stress/frustration:

  • Learn to read your baby's cues and respond before they start crying
  • Go to your baby as soon as they start crying
  • Have someone you trust come over and look after your baby to give you a break
  • Talk to someone about your feelings

Right From The Start program can help

If you’re finding it confusing trying to read your baby’s cues, Right from the Start is a great 8-week program to help you with this.

  • To register, call 905-634-2347 ext. 242

Adapted with permission from The Region of Peel (external link)

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Safe sleep & preventing SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS - also known as crib death) refers to the sudden and unexpected death of a healthy baby less than one year of age.

5 steps you can take to reduce the risk of SIDS

  1. Provide a smoke-free environment, before and after your baby is born.
  2. Breastfeeding. It protect your baby.
  3. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, at naptime and night time.
  4. Provide your baby with a safe sleep environment that has a firm surface and no pillows, comforters, quilts or bumper pads.
  5. Place your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed.

For more information

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Second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for children because children have smaller lungs and therefore have to breathe in and out more often.

Children who breathe in second-hand smoke have a greater chance of:

  • Dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Getting chronic ear infections
  • Having tubes inserted in their ears (Ear Tube Surgery)
  • Getting bronchitis and pneumonia and are more likely to need hospital care to recover
  • Getting asthma or having more severe asthmatic attacks

Second-hand smoke is considered a serious health hazard for every age group, especially children. Learn the dangers of second-hand smoke and ways to protect your children and family from its health hazards.

Adapted with permission from The Region of Peel (external link)

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