No job is more demanding than being a mom. You put everyone else’s needs before your own. At the same time, you try to do everything you can to keep your babies and young children safe.
In today’s ever-changing world, you’re probably bombarded with more information than you can handle about how to do that. Where should my child sleep? Which car seat is best for your busy days? How can I find the best person to watch the kids? What can I teach my kids to keep them safe? If you’re busy, juggling another job, and trying to maintain some sense of yourself, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
That’s where we come in. We’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve combed through studies and safety reports. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers pulled out the information that you, as a busy mother, absolutely have to know about keeping your kids safe. These safety tips and suggestions should help to put your mind at ease as you go about your hectic and active day.
Your Baby is Safest When She Sleeps Near You
Like most expectant parents you probably spent a lot of time decorating a nursery for your new arrival. It’s probably decked out with a crib you found after diligent research to find the safest option. That crib is probably fitted with a nice, firm but comfy (and non-toxic) crib mattress. As a busy mom, you’re probably hoping that your baby will spend hours here sleeping and napping while you unwind and get some rest of your own.
However, studies show that babies are safest when they spend the first 6 months of their life in their parent’s room. In fact, the longer your kid sleeps in your room, the lower the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually recommends room-sharing until a baby is at least one year old. That can reduce the risk of SIDs by as much as 50 percent.
Learn These Safe Baby Sleep Habits
When you are ready to put your infant down for the night, there are certain rules of thumb you have to follow. These protocols will help to keep your baby safe and healthy throughout the night:
- Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back, never on the stomach.
- Don’t let your newborn or infant sleep with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or anything else that could pose a suffocation hazard.
- Don’t dress your baby too warmly for bed. A sleep sack or weather-appropriate onesie pajamas should be plenty. If your baby overheats, there’s a higher risk of SIDS. In fact, studies show that SIDs is more common in the winter when parents try to compensate for the cold weather with tons of blankets and layers. Consider what you’re wearing and give your baby one extra layer for warmth.
Memorize these practices. Turn them into habits that you don’t have to think twice about. The better you know them, the less time you’ll have to spend worrying about whether your baby is safe while they sleep. This can give you more time to focus on yourself after a busy day.
Lock Dangerous Items & Keep Them Out of Reach
Kids are good at getting into trouble. They’re even better at finding dangerous things around the house. Every year, nearly 6,000 kids are injured and another 1,300 are killed because of gunshot injuries. Unfortunately, most of these accidents are avoidable. If you have anything dangerous around the home – including firearms – take the time to find a safe space for them. Put them out of reach or, even better yet, in a safe your children can’t access.
Invest Time in Interviewing a Professional Daycare Service
There’s nothing better than spending quality time with your kids. However, as a busy mom, there may come a point in time when you need to trust someone else to watch and take care of them. If they’re too young for school, you’ll need to find a daycare service. It’s normal to get nervous about dropping your young kids off with someone else – particularly a total stranger. You can get some peace of mind and put your nerves at ease by investing some of your valuable time in finding a reputable and professional daycare center.
Do some preliminary research by asking friends and family members for suggestions and referrals. Do a little digging online to learn about the facilities and the people who run them. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few top choices, make an appointment to visit the center and meet with the caretakers.
When you go for a visit, walk around the building and premises. Watch the caretakers and staff interact with the children who are there. Ask the administration and staff about their beliefs and practices. Request copies of their professional licenses and certificates. Try to get a sense of whether or not you’d be comfortable leaving your kids in their hands for hours at a time.
This will take some time, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you’re able to focus your attention on the other things that keep you busy throughout the day. The less distracted you are by your worries and concern for your childrens’ safety, the more you can pay attention to other parts of your life.
Know Your State’s Car Seat Safety Laws
As a busy mom, you’re probably out and about a lot. You have things to do. You’ve got to get to work and take your kids to the pediatrician. Then there’s soccer practice and ballet recitals. Someone’s got to do the grocery shopping, too. It’s important to make sure that you know how to transport your kids safely.
Every state in the country has mandatory car seat laws. Unfortunately, those laws aren’t the same in every state. It’s critical to familiarize yourself with the details of your state’s car seat safety laws. When do your kids have to be rear-facing, and for how long? When can you turn their seat around to face the front of the vehicle? What are the height and weight requirements for a booster? When is it okay for your kids to sit up front? Knowing these answers can be essential for safety as you travel with your kids. The time to learn about car safety is before a car accident, not after.
Learn How to Use Your Car Seat Properly
Once you know which direction your child must be facing, and when, you can invest in a car seat. A lot of parents seem to prefer the “bucket” style car seat that can click in and out of a base in the car. Why? Convenience.
However, research reveals that leaving kids in bucket car seats for extended periods of time is dangerous. You increase the risk of positional asphyxia – when your child’s chin drops down to their neck and makes it hard for them the breathe – when they’re left in a car seat for too long. It can also be bad for the growth and development of their spine.
Fortunately, there’s another choice. A convertible car seat never leaves your vehicle. Fortunately, most convertible seats can be used from the day your child is born until the moment they outgrow the need for a booster. (Again, check your local laws to find out when that might be.) According to Consumer Reports, parents should begin to shop for a convertible seat as soon as possible. Why? Safety tests show that they’re simply the safest option. Children are better protected when they’re in a convertible, rather than bucket-style, seat.
Make Sure Your Children Know How to Swim
Accidental drownings and swimming pool accidents are a leading cause of injury and death among young children. When your child starts to venture out into the world – even if they’re only headed to a friend’s house – they may come face to face with a pool. Knowing how to swim can make a world of difference when it comes to their safety. Keep your kids safe by investing in professional swim lessons. Make sure they respect the water and know how to handle themselves.
Teach Your Kids to Be Safe
You’re the gatekeeper for your child’s safety. However, there will come a day when they’re out in the world without you. The day will also come when your child stays home alone. As a busy mom, that day might come sooner rather than later. You know how smart children are. Put your mind to ease and teach your kids how to keep themselves safe.
- Practice reciting your address and phone number with your small child.
- Establish a “password” that only you, your child, and trusted friends and family know.
- Install safe habits – no running with scissors; drop, stop, and roll; no talking to strangers.
- Remind your child to never let anyone know they’re alone.
- Limit social media use, but teach them how to use it safely.
The more your child understands and implements safety rules, the better off they’ll be. Busy moms and dads will always worry, no matter your parenting style. However, teaching your kids and instilling safe habits can make your busy life a little bit easier.