Protecting an infant is instinctual for most parents. No matter how ill-equipped you might feel when you bring your newborn home from the hospital, you dedicate your best efforts to providing a nurturing environment where your little one will be safe.
Unfortunately, many consumer products designed, developed and marketed for babies have the potential to cause harm. Potentially more disconcerting is the fact that a product’s misuse could be fatal.
Supervise age-appropriate choices
There’s no doubt young children are curious about the world around them. Babies typically grab ahold of things and immediately stick them in their mouths – hence, the need to “baby-proof” the house. However, choking isn’t the only potential danger. Even items specific to infant use can be problematic.
You’re probably familiar with reports of class action lawsuits related to baby powder and Infants’ Tylenol, though the headlines stem from completely different claims. In terms of safety, providing toys meant for your child’s developmental level is a good place to start. Additionally, you can:
- Remove crib items, such as plush toys and bedding, that could suffocate an infant.
- Utilize both the crotch strap and waist belt to reduce the chances of a baby falling out of a highchair.
- Keep cords from window treatments out of the reach of children, since they’re a common cause for strangulation among children under age five.
Meanwhile, recognize that many products helpful for infant care have a single purpose.
Why back is best
As adults, we prop our heads up when we climb into bed for the night. As such, it may seem natural to rest a child on a nursing pillow after feeding.
Without developed neck muscles, however, a newborn has no defense against a soft pillow enveloping their airway. Should a newborn’s head fall forward, positional asphyxia could cause an infant to stop breathing.
Therefore, laying a baby on his or her back is the recommended way to sleep.
Action may precipitate responsibility
While you do everything within your power to safeguard your young ones, some dangers remain outside a parent’s control.
The Hazardous Products program run through the Texas Department of State Health Services and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission are two of the agencies that monitor the dangers of products on the market. You can report potential hazards to them.
Meanwhile, explore your legal options. Depending on your situation, liability might exist apart from your home.