Birth to 6 Months
Safety for Your Child
Did you know that hundreds of children younger than 1 year die every year in the United States because
of injuries — most of which could be prevented?
Often, injuries happen because parents are not aware of what their children can do. Children learn fast,
and before you know it, your child will be wiggling off a bed or reaching for your cup of hot coffee.
Car Injuries
Car crashes are a great threat to your child’s life and health. Most injuries and deaths from car crashes
can be prevented by the use of car safety seats. Your child, besides being much safer in
a car safety seat, will behave better, so you can pay attention to your driving. Make
your newborn’s first ride home from the hospital a safe one — in a car safety seat.
Your infant should ride in the back seat in a rear-facing car seat.
Make certain that your baby’s car safety seat is installed correctly.
Read and follow the instructions that come with the car safety seat and the
sections in the owners’ manual of your car on using car safety seats correctly.
Use the car safety seat EVERY time your child is in the car.
NEVER put an infant in the front seat of a car with a passenger air bag.
Babies wiggle and move and push against things with their feet soon after they are born.
Even these very first movements can result in a fall. As your baby grows and is able
to roll over, he or she may fall off of things unless protected. Do not leave your
baby alone on changing tables, beds, sofas, or chairs. Put your baby in a safe
place such as a crib or playpen when you cannot hold him.
Your baby may be able to crawl as early as 6 months. Use gates on stairways
and close doors to keep your baby out of rooms where he or she might get
hurt. Install operable window guards on all windows above the first floor.
Do not use a baby walker. Your baby may tip the walker over, fall out of it, or fall down stairs and
seriously injure his head. Baby walkers let children get to places where they can pull heavy objects
or hot food on themselves.
If your child has a serious fall or does not act normally after a fall, call your doctor.
At 3 to 5 months, babies will wave their fists and grab at things. NEVER carry your baby and hot liquids,
such as coffee, or foods at the same time. Your baby can get burned. You can’t handle both! To protect
your child from tap water scalds, the hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120˚F.
In many cases you can adjust your water heater.
If your baby gets burned, immediately put the burned area in cold water. Keep the burned area in
cold water for a few minutes to cool it off. Then cover the burn loosely with a dry bandage or clean
cloth and call your doctor.
To protect your baby from house fires, be sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home,
especially in furnace and sleeping areas. Test the alarms every month. It is best to use smoke alarms that
use long-life batteries, but if you do not, change the batteries at least once a year.
Choking and Suffocation
Babies explore their environment by putting anything and everything into their mouths. NEVER leave
small objects in your baby’s reach, even for a moment. NEVER feed your baby hard pieces of food
such as chunks of raw carrots, apples, hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, and popcorn. Cut all the foods
you feed your baby into thin pieces to prevent choking. Be prepared if your baby starts to choke.
Ask your doctor to recommend the steps you need to know. Learn how to save the life of a
choking child.
To prevent possible suffocation and reduce the risk of sudden infant dealth syndrome (SIDS), your
baby should always sleep on his or her back. NEVER put your baby on a water bed, bean bag,
or anything that is soft enough to cover the face and block air to the nose and mouth.
Plastic wrappers and bags form a tight seal if placed over the mouth and nose and may suffocate your child.
Keep them away from your baby.
From Your Doctor
The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and
advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may
recommend based on the individual facts and circumstances.
TIPP®—The Injury Prevention Program
© 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics