Baby Safety Month Gives Parents and Caregivers Ways to Keep Babies and Young Children Safe at Home and in the Car

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JPMA offers tips for keeping baby safe at home, during sleep, and on-the-go during annual awareness month

“This Baby Safety Month we want to guide new parents through some of the universal questions around baby proofing, safe sleep and car seat safety, while also incorporating guidance related to unique considerations created by COVID-19," said Kelly Mariotti, executive director of JPMA.

September is Baby Safety Month, an annual time to focus on safety considerations unique to babies and young children, established by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) more than three decades ago to help parents safely navigate early childhood. Each year, JPMA offers parents actionable safety tips and useful resources to help them choose and use age appropriate products designed to support the safety of babies and young children in the home and while on the go.

“For parents, the safety of their children has always been paramount, yet this year we find the ongoing pandemic leaves them with another worry,” said Kelly Mariotti, executive director of JPMA. “This Baby Safety Month we want to ease parents’ minds and guide them through some of the universal questions all new parents have around baby proofing, safe sleep and car seat safety, while also incorporating guidance related to unique considerations created by COVID-19. The pandemic is certainly worthy of our attention, but it is critically important that we stay mindful of other risks to young children and prevent accidents.”

To reduce injury risks, JPMA recommends parents and caregivers start each morning with a daily safety check for potential hazards in their home from baby’s point of view – down on hands and knees – and offers the following tips to help with common safety questions.

Baby Proofing, Home & Product Safety:
Unintentional injuries, such as burns, drowning, falls and poisoning, are one of the leading causes of death of children in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of these injuries are preventable.

  • Never leave children unattended during bath time and avoid distractions.
  • Correctly use and adjust straps and harnesses on products when available, each and every time.
  • Do not place your baby on a countertop, table or any elevated or unstable surface in an infant seat, swing, bouncer or car seat.
  • When changing or bathing baby, be sure everything you need, such as diapers, shampoo and toys, are within arm’s reach. Use the restraints on your changing pad and bather every time.
  • When using activity centers, mats or bouncers, keep away from stairs, doors, windows, plants, lamps, the television, fireplace, heaters or tables.
  • To avoid tip-over, dressers, bookcases, mirrors, and other pieces of furniture should be secured to the wall, ideally with dry-wall screws into a stud. All TVs should be firmly mounted to a wall or a piece of furniture.
  • When baby can crawl, install gates on doorways and stairways.
  • Check for recalls before purchasing baby products, especially second-hand, hand-me-down and heirloom products.
  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions, warning labels and recommendations for age, height and weight requirements.

Sleep Safety:
Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); unexplainable deaths; and accidental suffocation or strangulation. Room-sharing, but not bed sharing, decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • It’s critical for baby to have a completely bare sleeping space. There shouldn’t be anything in or around the crib that could potentially suffocate or strangle them, including blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals.
  • For babies under 12 months of age, healthy infants should ALWAYS sleep on their backs unless otherwise advised by a pediatrician.
  • Do not overdress your baby. Consider using a wearable blanket or other sleep clothing as an alternative to any covering. For newborns, consider swaddling.
  • Before using a crib, check to make sure it has not been recalled. The safest place for baby to sleep is in a fully functional, properly assembled, JPMA-Certified crib.
  • Make sure there are no missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support. Check the stability and hardware of the crib often. Do not substitute hardware. Only use hardware obtained directly from the manufacturer.
  • Always use a properly-fitting mattress as infants can suffocate in gaps between a poorly-fitting mattress and the crib sides or ends.
  • If using a baby monitor with cords, make sure all cords are out of arm’s reach of your child. Never place any item in or on the crib that has cords, strings, etc., as babies can become entangled and strangle in these items. At least three feet away is where your monitor should stay.
  • Avoid strangulation hazards and never place the crib or toddler bed near windows with cords from blinds or drapes.
  • When your child is able to pull to a standing position, set the mattress to the lowest position and remove any objects that could serve as steps for climbing out.
  • Mobiles should be removed from the crib when baby can push up on hands and knees or pull up to a standing position.
  • Move your child to a toddler bed when he or she begins to climb out or reaches a height of 35-inches.

Car Seats & Child Passenger Safety:
Car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for children ages 1 to 13. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by as much as 71%, but mistakes in choosing, installing or using car seats compromise the protection they offer.

  • Children should ride rear-facing until they reach the maximum rear-facing weight or height allowed by the manufacturer’s instructions. Ongoing research indicates that rear-facing is safer than forward-facing in most crashes because a rear-facing car seat provides extra support for a child’s head, neck and back.
  • Children who exceed rear-facing limits should ride in forward-facing car seats with harnesses, with parents securing the top tether to the vehicle anchor and according to manufacturer instructions. Tethers significantly reduce the likelihood of head injury.
  • Children who exceed the weight or height limits of a forward-facing car seat should ride in belt-positioning booster seats until seat belts alone fit correctly and will be consistently used according to the vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Once the seat belts fit properly, all older children and adults in the vehicle should use lap and shoulder belts. Unrestrained passengers can be thrown with violent force in a sudden stop or crash, potentially injuring themselves and others in the vehicle.
  • Experts agree that the back seat is the safest place for children under age 13 to ride.
  • Follow the car seat instructions and your state’s law for proper seat selection and use, and register your car seat with the manufacturer.
  • Car seats expire! Check labels and instructions for information about your model’s useful life.
  • Do not use a second-hand car seat or booster seat, especially if it is beyond the useful life period indicated by the manufacturer, has ever been involved in a crash, or has missing or damaged parts or labels.
  • Use your car seat during air travel to protect your child from turbulence. Most car seats with internal harnesses are approved for use on aircraft and display a label that says, “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft.“ While booster seats cannot be used in flight, you can pack yours as luggage so you have it at your destination and won’t have to rent one.

Avoiding Child Vehicular Heatstroke
In 2019, 52 children died as a result of child vehicular heatstroke, often called “hot car” deaths. The incidents often occur when a parent or caregiver is distracted or there is a disruption in schedules. JPMA reminds parents that COVID-19 has significantly altered many of your schedules thus increasing this risk.

  • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even during a quick trip to the store.
  • Teach children that a car is not a toy and to not play in or around the car.
  • Keep car doors and trunks locked when the car is not in use and keep key fobs out of reach.
  • Make it habit to check the front and back seat of your car every time you walk away from it.
  • Create reminders like placing a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move the toy to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
  • Set a calendar alert on your phone about your childcare drop off responsibilities and set up a system either by phone call or text to confirm you have dropped your child off at childcare or school.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately.

Child Passenger Safety Week will be held during the third week of Baby Safety Month, Sept. 20-26, 2020. To allow for social distancing, many in-person car seat events will transition to virtual education provided by JPMA, top car seat brands and some advocate groups. Parents and caregivers can find virtual seat check opportunities at http://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats.

JPMA has partnered with Walmart, Delivering Good, Safe Kids Worldwide, First Candle, Window Covering Safety Council, American Home Furnishings Alliance, National Safety Council, International Association For Child Safety, Child Proofing Experts.com, WomenCertified, Inc., RILA, and Twiniversity for 2020’s Baby Safety Month. For more information about Baby Safety Month and tips for caring for babies and young children, visit http://www.babysafetymonth.org.
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ABOUT BABY SAFETY MONTH
Baby Safety Month started in 1983 when JPMA initiated “Expectant Mother’s Day.” In 1986, it was extended to a week-long celebration, until 1991, when JPMA sponsored the first “Baby Safety Awareness Month.” Since then, every September has been designated as Baby Safety Month.

ABOUT JPMA
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is the voice of the industry on quality and safety for baby and children's products in North America. We do this by:

  • Advocating for safety through product certification programs and legislative and regulatory involvement;
  • Supporting a broad and diverse membership through member-only programming and industry promotion;
  • And by acting as a comprehensive source for baby product information and education.

JPMA members represent 95 percent of the prenatal to preschool products sold in North America. To find out more about JPMA, our Certification Program and Certified products, and for a complete listing of JPMA Members, please visit https://www.jpma.org. Follow JPMA on Twitter @JPMA and connect with us on Facebook to learn about additional safety tips and JPMA initiatives.

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