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Narrator: Before they're mobile, babies can't get into as much trouble on their own.
But there are many hidden hazards to watch out for.
As an emergency room pediatrician and cofounder of wellhomecheck.org, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Dr. Joel Clingenpeel would rather teach parents about home safety than treat their child in the emergency room.
Dr. Joel Clingenpeel: Hey, Rachael. I'm Joel.
Mother: Nice to meet you, Joel.
Narrator: First-time mom Rachael and her son, Emmitt, are meeting with Dr. Clingenpeel for a home safety makeover and to learn about five top safety priorities for newborns and young babies like Emmitt.
Doctor: When he begins to roll, he's going to roll in that split second that you turn your back on him.
Narrator: Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury to children under the age of one. To prevent your baby from tumbling, and to avoid falls yourself, take these precautions:
Always stay close to your baby when he's on a changing table or any elevated surface – even if he's strapped in. (That phone call can wait.)
It's also important to avoid falling yourself, especially when you have your baby in your arms.
Doctor: What I noticed when I first came in was that both of these rugs represent a potential hazard for you all.
Narrator: Put non-slip carpet grippers under your mats and area rugs, use a nightlight to illuminate hallways and stairs you may walk down at night, keep clutter off the floor and stairs, and use stair railings.
Next, move and secure hazards.
Doctor: A lot of these cords represent a danger in that they're so close to him. This one in particular is connected to your television and is within fairly close reach to him. If he got ahold of it and gave a big enough tug, there is the possibility your television could slip forward. So just wrapping them up and away, we can keep them well out of his reach.
One of the things that I would recommend is where the crib is in relation to the window itself. Particularly the curtains and the cords.
Narrator: Move your crib, changing table, and bassinet away from windows to prevent falls, and keep any cords or ties far out of your baby's reach – these are strangling hazards.
Move breakable objects that could fall, and make sure tall or unstable pieces of furniture and large or heavy pieces of art are secured to the wall with brackets or safety straps so they can't topple over.
And don't hang heavy artwork above the crib. Dr. Clingenpeel is concerned by this large framed piece hanging by a single nail. It's best to secure it to another wall.
Tip number three: Remove chokables – any small objects that are within your baby's reach.
Doctor: It's amazing the little things that are all around the house that these guys can get into that represent choking risks. If it's small enough to fit through a roll of toilet paper, then it's a choking risk.
Narrator: Tip four: Set up for safe bathing.
The bathtub is the most common location for home drowning deaths. Never leave your child unattended or out of reach during bath time, even for a second.
To prevent burns, always check the temperature of the bath water before putting your baby in the tub. Many baby bath toys and tubs have temperature sensors.
And adjust your water heater.
Doctor: Find your hot water heater and make sure that you turn the temperature down so that it's set at 120 degrees or less. Anything higher than 120 degrees creates a water temperature that just in a matter of seconds can create a bad burn.
Narrator: Tip five: Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by following these guidelines.
Put your baby to sleep on a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
Don't put anything soft and cushy in your baby's sleeping space – no pillows, comforter, quilt, loose blankets, crib bumpers, or plush toys. If your baby needs an extra layer, use a sleep sack or wearable blanket.
Doctor: Every time that you put him down, you're putting him to sleep on his back. Babies who are put on their back to sleep are at a much less risk of sudden infant death syndrome, so getting into that habit early is important.
Narrator: The mattress should fit tightly so your baby can't get trapped between it and the side of your bassinet or crib. To prevent injuries, make sure that the crib or bassinet is sturdy and stable, and doesn't have any missing or broken parts or any gaps greater than the width of a dollar bill.
Doctor: Well as you can see, Rachael, we made a lot of improvements throughout your home today to make it safer for Emmitt, and we didn't have to spend a whole lot of money to do it. The great news is the place is nice and safe for him right now. The bad news is soon he's going to be crawling and pulling up and moving from room to room and when that happens we got a lot of other things that we need to think about. But for now I think you have got the place in great order and you should enjoy it.
Mom: Say bye-bye!
Doctor: You guys be safe.
Mom: See you later!