When our first baby, Casey, came along, my husband and I were determined to make sure she assimilated into our life, not the other way around. We were pretty active and keen on keeping it that way. But there were a lot of things to think about when our duo became a trio, and in the forefront of our minds, like all parents, was safety. I was thinking about this since September is National Baby Safety Month. Keeping baby safe is really sort of all encompassing. In those early days, what I thought most about was keeping Casey safe in transit for those trips around the block, when I would strap her in the car seat and pray she would go to sleep. Yeah I did that. With this in mind, here are some of my top safety tips from one good enough mother to another.
THE CAR SEAT: Ahh yes…car seats. For the record, they’re much easier to install now, than even a few years ago. I wish I had a nickel for each time I spent struggling and sweating to make sure the car’s seatbelt was tight enough, then tugging to make sure the car seat itself didn’t move or rock if I took a sharp turn, or God-forbid, worse. Now, with bases that click and lock, you know it’s in there to stay. Bonus: you can get them in and out quickly, provided you know what you're doing. My recommendation is to find one you are really comfortable dealing with, since your baby will spend quite a bit of time in it. Ask around and read product reviews and make sure you find one that will give you the most “bang for your buck,” and always read the entire instruction manual before using the car seat.
BABY GATES: Now if you’ve driving over the river and through the woods to let’s say Grandmother’s house, everyone, including your toddler, is going to be itching to get out and stretch their legs. And that’s good. But if you’re at grandma’s house, a baby gate is going to be a must, seein’ as it may have been a while since a little one’s been tooling around her house. The gates nowadays are lightweight and sturdy, which translates to peace of mind for you. You need this because having a little one who’s mobile is the very definition of a “game-changer.”
BABY-PROOFING: And then there’s this, catchall term. You know you need to do it, but what is IT exactly? You’re probably aware of the usual things, like covering electrical outlets. But also take extra care in the kitchen. If you’re still at Grandma’s, ask her to turn down the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and keep all medications out of reach of little hands.
Here’s one more trick I used. I loved being on the floor with my kids. So while I was down there tickling and loving on them, I would take a good look around so I could see the world from their perspective. What’s at eye level? What’s brightly colored and dangling off the counter, just waiting to be tugged on? What little tiny objects did the vacuum miss, that are now tucked away in the corner, just waiting to be popped in a mouth? You might be surprised what you find. Of course, it means finding the fun in putting stray pieces of string in your mouth, but if it will help keep baby safe, get on down there and take one for the team! A little planning and forethought can go a long way to making sure your baby grows up happy and healthy.
By Evenflo Savvy Parenting Expert Rene Syler, founder of Good Enough Mother