by Dustin W. Bogan, PA-C

September is officially National Baby Safety Month and of course pediatricians and parents have the common goal of allowing their children to grow in a safe and healthy manner. Here are some simple tips that will help keep your child safe throughout their first year of life.

One of the most commonly discussed conditions in the first few visits with your pediatrician is “SIDS.” SIDS is an abbreviation for sudden infant death syndrome, which can take the lives of as many as 3500 children each year. This can be scary for parents and there is little known about the true cause.

The best thing that you can do as a parent is place your infant to sleep on their back on a firm surface. This has been proven to decrease SIDS rates. It is also beneficial to have your baby sleep in the room with you for at least 6 months. This allows you to quickly get to them if needed. Avoid placing additional blankets, pillows, toys, or bumpers in the crib with your baby to prevent the risk of unintended suffocation. Lastly, encourage tummy time during the day, while your baby is supervised. This will allow for improved neck strength and increase your baby’s ability to move their head. They will eventually teach themselves to roll over, which decreases the risk of SIDS as well.

Another easy way to keep your infant safe throughout the first year is to learn about how to keep them safe in the car. Unfortunately, many infants die each year due to improper travel or car safety. Remember that all infants and toddlers up to the age of 2 years should be kept in a rear facing car seat. Of course, ensure that they meet the height and weight requirements for the car seat, but remember that they may visibly appear to “outgrow” the rear facing seat long before they should be facing forward. It is okay if your child has their legs propped on the back of the seat. Some parents unfortunately forget their infant in the back of the car when traveling to common places like the store or to work. This can lead to heat injuries or unintended infant death. If you and your co-parent or a caregiver share responsibility of traveling with your infant, always check the back seat. You may find it helpful to store necessary items like your wallet, purse, or work materials in the back seat.  Another tip is to keep your infant’s car seat in view in the rear-view mirror.

I hope these awareness tips help keep your infant safe this month and throughout the first years of life and beyond. Please contact your pediatrician with any questions or see the resources below.  

For additional information, please see the resources below: