Keeping your growing baby safe

Babies develop so quickly that as parents and carers we cannot often keep up with them. Accidents are often linked to the developmental stages.

Key physical differences in a baby to an older child

  1. Baby skin is thinner
  2. Their bodies’ process poisons differently
  3. They may be able to pull something over them but may not be able to get it off
  4. Their heads are proportionally bigger than their bodies

Key cognitive differences in a baby to an older child 

Your baby and child’s brain has a lot of development before they develop judgement on danger and safety. As a parent or carer they rely on your learned judgement, which you will pass onto them through telling, showing and explaining.

  1. They have to learn to pull away from something that is hot
  2. They have to learn consequences, such as water can burn if too hot, but won’t burn if cold
  3. They are not able to judge the speed of traffic

Babies and children under 5 are more likely to have an accident in the home or garden than anywhere else, as this is where they spend most of their time. 

16 top tips for keeping your baby safe

  1. When you are carrying  your baby, make sure your floor is uncluttered to avoid slips and trips
  2. Never leave your baby on the bed or a raised surface unattended. You will be surprised how quickly they learn to roll over and off. The safest place to change your baby’s nappy is on the floor
  3. Keep nappy sacks out of reach of young babies. As a consequence of their grasp reflex (the same reflex which enables them to grip your finger) they can easily get hold of a nappy sack and, with their hand to mouth reflex, pull it to their mouth, where the flimsy plastic clings
  4. Don’t use duvets, pillows or cot bumpers as they will increase the risk of suffocation
  5. Use only 5cm of water in the bath and never leave your baby unattended
  6. Always put the cold water into their bath first
  7. Don’t prop your baby up to feed, hold them to avoid choking and it is also an important part of bonding with them too
  8. If you are having a hot drink, put your baby down before you pick up the drink
  9. Make sure you have a working smoke detector
  10. Make sure your baby is secured with a 5 point harness if in their pram/pushchair or high chair
  11. Start to use safety gates especially around stairs, you will be surprised how quickly babies can get up steps
  12. Move things so that  your baby/toddler can’t climb up onto window sills
  13. Move toys out of the cot that they may be able to use to climb out of the cot 
  14. Make sure blind and curtain cords are tied up and out of reach
  15. Button batteries are very dangerous if swallowed, keep them out of reach along with any small objects
  16. Cut up food into small pieces to avoid choking