Becoming a parent for the first time is on overwhelming experience, filled with a whole mix of emotions. What often strikes many first time Mums and Dads is the sense of responsibility, something they have never truly experienced before. When your newborn is handed to you for the first time you immediately feel the weight of expectation – if nothing else, from now on, your role is to keep this tiny perfectly formed human being safe.
Whilst they remain immobile, that’s not too daunting a task. Don’t leave them anywhere they can fall off, don’t let them overheat and feed them at regular intervals and you’re probably going to be OK. That said, there are some things us seasoned parents often take for granted, that the newbies amongst us might not be aware of.
Here are the ten top things we think you really ought to know or think about in those early few weeks:
- Only use 2 to 3 inches of water in the bath tub with your baby, and never (ever!) leave them unsupervised near water.
- When cooking, turn pot handles towards the back of the stove. Your little one may not be climbing yet, but they will, so it’s a good habit to get in to, and is also handy to avoid clothes getting caught in handles whilst you are carrying little one.
- Ensure your car seat is fitted correctly, and you are using the right type for your child’s age and/or size.
- Keep toiletries out of your child’s reach. Even young babies can often reach nappy sacks and other small items that can pose choking risks.
- Don’t use baby clothes that have drawstrings.
- Never use cot-bumpers, no matter how pretty they are. These can easily strangle young children.
- Install smoke and CO2 alarms, and remember to check the batteries on a regular basis (this is good advice even if you don’t have children). Whilst you’re at it, take time to review your fire escape plan, taking in to account the need to move with a young child.
- Never leave your baby alone on beds, sofas, bouncy chairs, changing tables or anything at height they can fall from.
- Make sure that any furniture that can topple (i.e. book shelves) are secured to the walls. Young children will often pull themselves up on to furniture, which can fall and seriously injure them.
- Check that all toys given to your child are well put together, and don’t have cords or straps longer than 12 inches to prevent the risk of strangulation.
Of course, even if you already have children it’s important to think about how safe your home, or your approach to safety is, now that you have a younger child in tow. Talk to older children about the dangers normally safe items, such as pillows, cushions and even food can present to a newborn so that they are also aware of the need to do things differently now they have a younger sibling.
I would love to hear your safety tips for parents.