Safety for infants

Set up infant furniture and toys to avoid accidents:

• Check to make sure that the baby's crib is properly put together—with mattress support hinges firmly in place, the side rail locked in a raised position, and the crib free of places where your baby's head could become stuck.

• Make sure the space between crib slats is less than 2-3/8 inches. Never use an older or hand-me-down crib with slats farther apart than this safety minimum.

• Make sure there are safety straps on infant seats, swings, changing tables, and high chairs, and use them.

• Don't hang toys across a crib once your infant can sit up.

As you care for your infant, be extra careful about how you handle her:

• Don't hold hot beverages while holding your baby in your lap.

• Don't carry your baby as you cook or do other work in the kitchen.

• Don't leave babies on an adult bed, beanbag chair, pillow, or waterbed, where suffocation is a danger.

• Don't leave your infant on a bed or changing table unattended. Always keep a hand on her. If the doorbell rings, pick her up and take her with you.

• Don't place your baby's infant seat on a counter or table, on a cushioned surface, or near the edge of any furniture.

• Don't leave your baby alone with a bottle propped in his crib.

Reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Although experts still don't know what causes SIDS, here are six things you can do to reduce the risk for your baby:

• Bring your baby to regular check-ups with her pediatrician.

• Make sure no one smokes around your newborn.

• Place your baby on her back for sleep and make sure all babysitters do this, too.

• Have your baby sleep on a firm mattress with no soft items nearby. Sofas and waterbeds are not safe places for babies.

• Keep the baby's room at a comfortable temperature and don't overheat her with too many layers.

• Breastfeed your baby, if possible, because breast milk contains nutrients to keep her healthy.

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