In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’re sharing some key tips for new parents
Written by: Mia Weber
September is Baby Safety Month, which means that now is the perfect time to refresh yourself on key safety practices if you already have little ones at home, or build your knowledge foundation if you're a new-parent-to-be. This year, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is “helping educate parents and caregivers on the safe selection and use of juvenile products, while encouraging those around us to become safety ambassadors through civic engagement.”
Read on as we break down two of the JPMA’s key baby safety categories--car seat safety and sleep safety--and offer easy (and industry-approved) tips to help make your home and parenting environment safer for your whole family.
Car Seat Safety
No matter the month of the year, car seat safety is always a category to keep top of mind when navigating life with a baby or toddler. This applies to installing your seat correctly, using your seat safely outside of the car (for example, only use a car seat as a travel system with a stroller it is explicitly designed to be compatible with - never use the car seat in a wagon or something where it's not safely latched to the stroller), and using your harness and belt system properly every time.
The first step in safe car seat usage starts with your purchasing decision. Make sure the brand you buy from is reputable and meets or exceeds all industry safety and legal standards; double points for quality if the brand is a JPMA member! While many baby gear items are totally safe to buy used, or are acceptable as hand-me-downs, keep in mind that car seats are the one item that are not safe to trust a used model on.
Depending on the model of your car seat, the model of your vehicle, and the age and size of your child, installation and usage procedures may vary. Here’s where you’ll want to turn to the car seat brand for guidance. Follow installation instructions to the letter and seek help if you are confused about any step or want added peace of mind. Many brands employ safety reps just for this purpose and they are more than happy to assist you on the phone or on video chat. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat after purchasing so you are aware if the manufacturer discovers any issues with your model somewhere down the road.
Similar to how car seat safety starts the moment you register for your infant car seat, sleep safety naturally starts with your crib. Whether you choose a flashy crib design, a classic model, or reuse the same crib your first baby used, make sure you understand the warranty parameters, the materials used in manufacturing (here’s an area where paying a little more for an eco-friendly piece could make all the difference for your baby’s health), and only used approved hardware and accessories in the assembly.
Once you have the crib set up, be sure to fit it with the proper-sized crib mattress and crib sheet (again, organic options are likely going to be worth it here), and ensure that you never put your newborn baby to sleep with excess blankets, bumpers, or toys in the crib. Consider a swaddle for newborn babies, and after the swaddling stage, but up to 12 months, a sleep sack or wearable blanket is going to be safer than loose blankets.
Finally, be sure to position your crib away from hanging chords, strings, or wires (like from blinds or baby monitors).
For more detailed information and safety tips for parents, visit jpma.org!