Much of the following you have already done in preparing for your new baby, but lets go through the entire list to ensure your home is safe for you and your baby.

FIRE SAFETY: Ensure that all flammable objects are kept safe from fire, such as cans of lighter fluid, gas, rags, etc. Ensure that all fireplaces are well sealed and have safety fences or doors to prevent sparks from reaching flammable objects. Ensure that you have adequate means of escape should any part of your home catch fire by having fire ladders near second story windows. Ensure that you have time to escape a fire by installing fire detectors as recommended by your fire department. Have fire extinguishers near points where small fires may occur such as the kitchen, fireplaces and garage. Ensure that your child can be found by clearly marking his or her room for the fire department. Ensure that your child is not left unattended in your home so that they won't start a fire or not escape from one. Make sure bed clothes are flame retardant also.


HOT WATER HEATER: Lower the temperature on the hot water heater to 120 F as water hotter that this will burn a baby very quickly and severely

WATER: Your baby should never be left unattended near water. But don't just think of pools and streams as dangerous as many babies have drowned in toilets, bath tubs, sinks and buckets. Be especially careful about 5 gallon containers as they are made just so that a child that falls into one cannot get out.

POISONS: Remove or lock up all poisons such as cleaning fluid, hair spray, thinners, fuels, poisonous plants, medicines, etc. Remember that children will put anything in their mouth.


ELECTRICITY: Put covers on all outlets and don't use extension cords. Children are easily electrocuted by plugs that are not completely plugged in. There are covers that surround cords plugged into outlets to prevent children from pulling the cord out and touching a bare wire. These are available at most home improvement stores. Children also tend to be choked and hanged by extension cords or pull heavy objects onto themselves. There are devices with which you can wind up the extra length of cord to prevent this.

KITCHEN: Put child proof locks on all the cabinets and drawers. Be sure not to put pot handles where little hands can reach them and pull hot objects and liquids onto themselves.

HAND ME DOWNS: Outdated clothes, toys and furniture can pose a hazard to your baby. Always inspect items for the following: can baby's head fit between the slats in the baby bed, are there small pieces that can be torn off and swallowed, are there sharp parts and are the clothing joints too constrictive?


EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS: should be placed near all phones. To reach me, just call the office number on the front cover of this booklet ANYTIME. POISON CONTROL’s phone number is 348-4211 locally (in West Virginia) or 1 (800) 642-3625. This number is also on the inside cover of your phone book. Poison control is always the first place you should call for any poisoning or overdose.

WALKERS: Every year 30,000 children are taken to the emergency room due to walker related injuries and 500 of those die. Since no gain is obtained from walkers (walkers delay the onset of walking by an average of 3 weeks) and so many injuries occur, therefore I and every pediatrician recommend against walker use. Hopefully by the time you read this they will be taken off of the market. The new "Exersaucer" type devices are fine, just make sure your child cannot climb out of it and can’t pull something onto themselves while in it (like appliance cords, etc.).

WINDOW BLIND CORDS: A child can wrap a cord from a vertical or horizontal window blind and hang him or herself. Please ensure that the cords are tied up and out of a child’s reach. Also make sure cribs are away from windows and blind cords.


GUNS: Thousands of children are killed every year accidentally by firearms not properly stored in the home. I have several guns in my house and all are in gun safes. Many feel they need a gun by the bed for security. There are several small gun safes that can be mounted by your bed that allow quick access and still keep the weapon away from children. Remember most hand guns are used against family members, not in actual self defense against an intruder.

GATES: Safety gates are a good way to keep your child away from danger. There are numerous kinds on the market. Please be sure to constantly check the security of the gates. Many children that fall down stairs actually do so after pushing through a loose gate.

As your child grows I will remind you of important safety concerns at each developmental stage, but you should always.....