Being a new parent is an incredibly rewarding experience like no other, but the early days, weeks and months of parenthood can also be a stressful time for many new parents as they learn how to take care of their newborn babies and protect their little ones from everyday risks and dangers, usually on very little sleep!
The good news is that there are several steps you can take as a new parent to help keep your newborn baby safe at home. Read on for our top safety tips for parents with newborns.
It’s important to always follow safety guidelines around where you put your baby down to sleep. A cot in your room is the best place to put your baby to sleep for the first six months.
Your baby’s crib or cot should be free of duvets, quilts, baby nests, wedges, cot bumpers or pillows, which can all pose a suffocation risk. Babies can easily overheat, so use lightweight bedding and remember that a folded sheet or blanket will count as two layers. You might also want to consider using a baby sleeping bag rather than loose sheets or blankets, to help keep your baby from overheating or from wriggling beneath their covers.
Be sure to always follow the NHS safe sleep guidelines for babies to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Even very young babies can wriggle and potentially fall if left unattended on raised surfaces such as a bed or sofa. If you’re not able to hold your baby, then always put them down somewhere safe, like a crib, playpen or bouncer chair. Never leave your baby unattended on a bed or changing table, as this is how many falls happen.
If your baby is starting to crawl, it’s also time to invest in safety gates at the top and bottom of any stairs in your home. If your baby does have a fall, be sure to consult a doctor, even if they don’t seem badly hurt.
Be Aware of Pets
As your newborn grows, it can be wonderful to watch them interact with family pets. However, it’s important to remember that as much as they may be part of the family, your pet is an animal at the end of the day, and all animals come with a degree of unpredictability.
Even the gentlest dog or cat might be provoked into biting or scratching if they feel sufficiently stressed. That’s why it’s important to never leave your baby alone with a pet, and always supervise their interactions with each other, so you can separate them if needed.
Bathtime is a lovely chance for you to bond with your new baby, providing you follow some basic safety tips.
Always support your newborn’s head during bathtime and remember that tiny babies get cold quickly, so keep bathtime short and sweet. Always test the bathwater first – ideally, your baby’s bath temperature should be between 37 and 38 degrees celsius.
When running a bath for your baby or toddler, always run the cold tap first and never leave your baby unattended at bathtime. Non-slip mats and bath chairs and seats can also help keep your baby safe during their bath, especially as they grow and become wriggly and curious!
Ensure cleaning products and other hazardous substances like medicines and alcohol cannot be easily accessed by storing them high up out of reach.
You can also install cupboard locks to prevent your baby from accessing cupboards or drawers, for example, cutlery drawers that hold sharp objects, or under-sink cupboards.
Install appliance locks on ovens, washing machines and tumble dryers and never leave your baby unattended in the kitchen. Always turn pan handles in when cooking, so they can’t be grabbed or knocked easily and consider investing in safety devices like oven door screens to prevent accidental burns.
As a new parent, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of all the potential hazards in your home, but by following the basic safety advice outlined here, you can help keep your newborn baby safe and happy.