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Tips For Your Baby's Safety

Including Equipment Safety Checklist

From the beginning of a child's life, products, such as cribs, high chairs and other equipment intended for a child must be selected with safety in mind. Parents and caretakers of babies and young children need to be aware of the many potential hazards in their environment - hazards occurring through misuse of products or those involved with products that have not been well designed for use by children.

This checklist is a safety guide to help you when buying new or secondhand nursery equipment. It also can be used when checking over nursery equipment now in use in your home or in other facilities that car for infants and young children.


If most of your answers are "NO," the equipment is beyond help and should be discarded. If the equipment can be repaired, do the repairs before you allow any child to use it.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's concern is that the children in your care have a safe environment in which to grow.

Back Carriers YES NO
1. Carrier has restraining strap to secure child. ___ ___
2. Leg openings are small enough to prevent child from slipping out. ___ ___
3. Leg openings are large enough to prevent chafing. ___ ___
4. Frames have no pinch points in the folding mechanism. ___ ___
5. Carrier has padded covering over metal frame near baby's face. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not use until baby is 4 or 5 months old. By then baby's neck is able to withstand jolts and not sustain an injury.

Bassinets and Cradles YES NO
1. Bassinet/Cradle has a sturdy bottom and a wide base for stability. ___ ___
2. Bassinet/Cradle has smooth surfaces - no protruding staples or other hardware that injure the baby. ___ ___
3. Legs have strong, effective locks to prevent folding while in use. ___ ___
4. Mattress is firm and fits snugly. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Follow manufacturer's guidelines on weight and size of baby who can safely use these products.

Baby Bath Rings or Seats YES NO
1. Suction cups securely fastened to product. ___ ___
2. Suction cups securely attached to SMOOTH SURFACE of tub. ___ ___
3. Tub filled only with enough water to cover baby's legs ___ ___
4. Baby NEVER left alone or with a sibling while in bath ring, even for a moment! ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: NEVER leave a baby unattended or with a sibling in a tub of water. Do not rely on a bath ring to keep your baby safe.

Carrier Seats YES NO
1. Carrier seat has a wide sturdy base for stability. ___ ___
2. Carrier has non-skid feet to prevent slipping. ___ ___
3. Supporting devices lock securely. ___ ___
4. Carrier seat has crotch and waist strap. ___ ___
5. Buckle or strap is easy to use. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Never use the carrier as a car seat.

Changing Tables YES NO
1. Table has safety straps to prevent falls. ___ ___
2. Table has drawer or shelves that are easily accessible without leaving the baby unattended. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not leave baby on the table unattended. Always use the straps to prevent the baby from falling.

Cribs YES NO
1. Slats are spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) apart. ___ ___
2. No slats are missing or cracked. ___ ___
3. Mattress fits snugly--less than two finger width between edge or mattress and crib side. ___ ___
4. Mattress support is securely attached to the head and footboards. ___ ___
5. Corner posts are no higher than 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) to prevent entanglement of clothing or other objects worn by child. ___ ___
6. No cutouts in the head and footboards which allow head entrapment. ___ ___
7. Drop-side latches cannot be easily released by baby. ___ ___
8. Drop-side latches securely hold sides in raised position. ___ ___
9. All screws or bolts which secure components of crib are present and tight. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not place crib near draperies or blinds where child could become entangled and strangle on the cords. When the child reaches 35 inches in height or can climb and/or fall over the sides, the crib should be replaced with a bed.

Crib Toys YES NO
1. No strings with loops or openings having perimeters greater than 14 inches (356 mm). ___ ___
2. No strings or cords longer than 7 inches (178 mm) should dangle into the crib. ___ ___
3. Crib gym has label warning to remove from crib when child can push up on hands and knees or reaches 5 months of age, whichever comes first. ___ ___
4. Components of toys are not small enough to be a choking hazard. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Avoid hanging toys across the crib or on crib corner posts with strings long enough to result in strangulation. Remove crib gyms when child is able to pull or push up on hands and knees.

Gates and Enclosures YES NO
1. Openings in gate are too small to entrap a child's head. ___ ___
2. Gate has a pressure bar or other fastener that will resist forces exerted by a child. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: To avoid head entrapment, do not use accordion-style gates or expandable enclosures with large v-shaped openings along the top edge, or diamond-shaped openings within.

High Chairs YES NO
1. High chair has waist and crotch restraining straps that are independent of the tray. ___ ___
2. Tray locks securely. ___ ___
3. Buckle on waist strap is easy to use. ___ ___
4. High chair has a wide stable base. ___ ___
5. Caps or plugs on tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off and choke a child. ___ ___
6. If it is a folding high chair, it has an effective locking device to keep the chair from collapsing. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Always use restraining straps; otherwise child can slide under the tray and strangle.

Hook-On Chairs YES NO
1. Chair has a restraining strap to secure the child. ___ ___
2. Chair has a clamp that locks onto the table for added security. ___ ___
3. Caps or plugs on tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off and choke a child. ___ ___
4. Hook-on chair has a warning never to place the chair where the child can push off with feet. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Don't leave a child unattended in a hook-on chair.

Pacifiers YES NO
1. No ribbon, string, cord or yarn attached to pacifier. ___ ___
2. Shield is large enough and firm enough to not fit in child's mouth. ___ ___
3. Guard or shield has ventilation holes so the baby can breath if the shield does get into the mouth. ___ ___
4. Pacifier nipple has no holes or tears that might cause it to break off in baby's mouth. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: To prevent strangulation, never hang pacifier or other items on a string around a baby's neck.

Playpens YES NO
1. Drop-side mesh playpen or crib has label warning never to leave side in the down position. ___ ___
2. Mesh has small weave (less than 1/4 inch openings). ___ ___
3. Mesh has no tears, holes or loose threads. ___ ___
4. Mesh is securely attached to top rail and floorplate. ___ ___
5. Top rail cover has no tears or holes. ___ ___
6. Wooden playpen has slats spaced no more than 2 inches (60 mm) apart. ___ ___
7. If staples are used in construction, they are firmly installed and none are missing or loose. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Never leave an infant in a mesh playpen or crib with the drop-side down. Even a very young infant can roll into the space between the mattress and loose mesh side and suffocate.

Rattles, Squeeze Toys, Teethers YES NO
1. Rattles, squeeze toys and teethers are too large to lodge in a baby's throat. ___ ___
2. Rattles are of sturdy construction that will not break apart in use. ___ ___
3. Squeeze toys do not contain a squeaker that could detach and choke a baby. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Take rattles, squeeze toys, teethers and other toys out of the crib or playpen when the baby sleeps to prevent suffocation.

Strollers & Carriages YES NO
1. Wide base to prevent tipping. ___ ___
2. Seat belt and crotch strap securely attached to frame. ___ ___
3. Seat belt buckle is easy to use. ___ ___
4. Brakes securely lock the wheel(s). ___ ___
5. Shopping basket is low on the back and directly over or in front of rear wheels for stability. ___ ___
6. When used in carriage position, leg hold openings can be closed. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Always secure the seat belts. Never leave a child unattended in a stroller. Keep children's hands away from pinching areas when stroller is being folded or unfolded or the seat back is being reclined.

Toy Chests YES NO
1. No lid latch which could entrap child within the chest. ___ ___
2. Hinged lid has a spring-loaded lid support that will support the lid in any position and will not require periodic adjustment. ___ ___
3. Chest has ventilation holes or spaces in front or sides, or under the lid should a child get inside. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: If you already own a toy chest or trunk with a freely falling lid, remove the lid to avoid a head injury to a small child, or install a spring-loaded lid support.

Walkers YES NO
1. Wide wheel base for stability. ___ ___
2. Covers over coil springs to avoid finger pinching. ___ ___
3. Seat is securely attached to frame or walker. ___ ___
4. No x-frames that could pinch or amputate fingers. ___ ___

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Place gates or guards at top of all stairways, or keep stairway doors closed to prevent falls. Do not use walker as baby sitters.

Article Source - U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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