We always want what’s best for our children. When it comes to our little ones, safety and security are the top priorities, and this is especially true when choosing baby gear. With the number of product recalls lately due to safety concerns, it is vital for parents to be discriminating when buying equipment for their children.
Just recently, the unfortunate death of a six-month-old baby quickly prompted the recall of over 600,000 cribs, which had drop-sides that easily detached, creating a space where a child could become trapped and suffocate. It is important that you know which baby equipment is secure and stable before making any purchases. This also applies to relatives and friends who are thinking of buying baby gifts for their loved ones.
You can protect your child from such dangers by looking for the seal of approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and examining the baby gear carefully for safety hazards. Here are a few tips help survey the most common baby equipment—cribs, high chairs, strollers, clothes and hair accessories.
In general, for any baby gear, simply run your fingers along it to feel for rough spaces or surfaces that may get dangerously hot if exposed to the sun. You will want to avoid these. Also, inspect hinges, springs, and all moving parts. There should be no place where your baby’s body parts or clothes can get caught in or pinched. Everything must be fastened securely. All paints and finishes must be smooth and non-toxic.
For cribs, the mattress should fit snugly. Try putting two fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib—if they fit, your baby’s head could get wedged in that space. Your baby’s head could get caught between the slats, too, so they should be less than 2 3/8 inches apart. Hinges and screws should be secure and away from your baby’s reach.
During the first few months, your baby will not be strong enough to lift her own head high, and there can be danger of suffocation when lying facedown. Therefore, avoid using pillows or blankets that bunch up easily.
High chairs and strollers are prone to tipping over, so they should have a wide base that keeps them steady. They should also have good harnesses that you can fasten firmly, so that she is safe and snug and won’t fall or climb out easily. As most high chairs and strollers are foldable, make sure that the mechanisms that lock the hinges in place while in use are secure. Examine the stroller wheels as well. They should be solid and come with shock absorbers.
When dressing up your little one, it’s not just safety that comes into play. It’s also important to factor in comfort. Remember that babies skin is sensitive, so her clothes should not contain elements that might irritate her. Wash her clothes separately from the rest of your laundry for the first few months, using mild soap or detergent, and then double-rinse them. Avoid using fabric softeners, since these may contain chemicals that can irritate your baby's skin.
As for safety, baby clothes often have tiny decorative features that might easily get pulled out. Check small items on the clothing, like buttons and ribbons. They should be fastened securely; otherwise, they can become choking hazards to your little one.
What little princess is complete without hair accessories? You have to be careful here too, because some of the clips on the market are so small that they can be choking hazards. Most children under the age of three have fine, wispy hair and some hair products can slip off their hair easily. If a clip ends up in their mouths, you want to know that they aren’t going to swallow it.
You can also choose hair accessories that have been especially designed to stay in place. Such products work well in fine, wispy hair, and the velvet-covered brand is soft against the scalp. The same goes for headbands—choose one that is non-slip and made from high-quality materials that won’t irritate your baby’s skin.
All in all, choosing baby gear or baby gifts pretty much boils down to being well-informed, and making discriminating, safety-first choices.