Having a baby is a hero’s adventure. In the typical nine months leading up to delivery, parents spend hours picking through rompers, toys, pacifiers, mattresses, breast pumps, and more in alternating waves of excitement and nervous anticipation. They host baby showers and attend medical examinations and run around town trying to satisfy food cravings. Blood, sweat, and tears are all in the mix. The preparations for having a baby are endless, but nothing can really prepare parents for the many changes their lives will have once the baby arrives. Between lack of sleep and constantly doting on their new beloved family members, where is the time to decipher the conflicting advice given by anyone and everyone who has ever had a child?
To tackle one side of this problem, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) founded Baby Safety Month in 1983 to raise awareness about the safest baby products on the market. Since then, they have both encouraged retailers to focus on selling dependably safe baby products and developed easy-to-use toolkits for parents who want to learn more about how to best care for their children.
We have outlined a few recommendations below to get the conversation started. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as parenting is an everyday job, and each child is unique in their needs and abilities. The number one rule is to always stay mindful!
- Baby proof the house by getting down on your hands and knees and seeing what is within reach. Be curious and have fun with this one!
- Learn about regular feeding progressions for children, such as the transition from soft to hard food, but do not force any development for the sake of “staying on schedule”! Babies progress at different speeds, and this is normal.
- Do not shake or toss the baby, as it might result in brain damage or blindness.
- Research the safest baby crib mattresses and bedding on the market, including brands like Naturepedic. Newborns and infants sleep anywhere from 10-16 hours a day, so it makes sense to ensure that the mattress they sleep on is breathable, waterproof, certified organic and nontoxic, and avoids potentially allergenic material like latex. You can read more about choosing a safe crib mattress here.
- Make sure that all toys or pieces of toys are larger than your child’s mouth and with no sharp edges.
- Take advantage of the baby gate! Buy a few!
- Avoid the possibility of heatstroke by never leaving an infant alone in the car, even for a minute.
- Never leave a baby unattended in the tub. Keep your eyes on them, and not on the phone.
- Know your car seat safety. Learn the rear-facing and front-facing height and weight requirements for your car seat and road trip accordingly. Car seats also expire, so check the date and replace them when it is time! Though this may sound strange, the materials used to make car seats are subject to degradation from cleaning products as well as environmental factors like extreme temperatures and sun damage.
- Introduce common allergens, such as peanuts in a safe and controlled manner. It is best to do so in a medical setting where help is easily on hand.
We recommend reading a more comprehensive set of safety tips on the JPMA website here, where you can also learn more about how to get involved in the month-long campaign. An easy way to take part in the movement is by posting a picture of your baby (like you were going to do anyway) and explaining how you are providing them with a safe and nurturing environment. Make sure to use the hashtags #JPMABabySafetyMonth, #BSM2021, and #JPMABSM. You’ve got this!