October, 2005

Get On Board!
Did you know that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children 14 and under? The National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions and Safety 1st are working together to raise awareness about child injury prevention. Learn how you can make a change and prevent injuries before they start. Visit getonboardwithsafety.com
for your free Essential Home & Travel Childproofing Guide.

October is SIDS Awareness Month

Perhaps the most devastating event that could happen to a parent is the death of a child. It is even more tragic when it is unpreventable and unpredictable. Unfortunately this happens to approximately 2,000 babies every year due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The good news is that since the launch of the national “Back To Sleep Campaign” in 1994, the rate of SIDS has declined by 50%.

At this time there is no known way to prevent SIDS, but there are steps parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death:

  • Place your baby to sleep on his or her back at nap and nighttime
  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant and don’t let anyone smoke around your baby after he or she is born
  • Use a safety-approved crib with a firm, tight fitting mattress covered with only a sheet
  • Remove all soft, fluffy or loose bedding & toys (including blankets, soft or fluffy bumpers and positioners)
  • Use a sleep sack (also called a wearable blanket) to replace loose blankets in your baby’s crib
  • Do not put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (sofas, chairs, waterbeds, quilts, blankets, sheepskins, etc.)
  • Room sharing is safer than bed sharing
  • Do not dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68 - 72°F
  • Educate relatives, baby-sitters and other caregivers about these important safety tips
For additional information, visit First Candle/SIDS Alliance’s website at www.firstcandle.org

Keeping Your Children Safe From Fire

As the days start getting cooler and the leaves begin turning color, you can almost smell fall in the air. The downside to this season is that it is also the time of year when incidents of home fires begin to rise. As families begin spending more time inside, the two primary causes of home fires, cooking and heating, become more prevalent.

October has been designated National Fire Safety Month so it’s a good time to review a fire safety checklist and educate your children on the dangers of fire and the importance of fire prevention.

According to the United States Fire Administration an estimated 2,500 children age 14 or younger are injured or killed in residential fires each year. Of these fire casualties, almost half were under the age of five and 70 percent were under the age of 10. What is perhaps equally disturbing is the amount of fires started by children. Every year, children set over 100,000 fires of which approximately 20,000 are in the home.

Many children learn about fire safety in school but it is never too early to start teaching or reinforcing what they are learning in school. And it is equally important for parents to ensure that fire hazards do not exist in their home.

The most important thing you can do is install and properly maintain smoke detectors in your home. Three-quarters of all fire related deaths are from smoke inhalation. These should be placed on each floor level, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Test the smoke alarm each month, replace the battery at least once a year and replace the smoke alarm every ten years, or as recommended by the manufacturer. (Source: USFA)

Creating a fire escape plan for your family will help avoid confusion and chaos in the event of a fire. Be sure each adult knows his or her role and what child he or she is responsible for helping. Review this plan with your children and establish a designated meeting place outside the home, preferably at a neighbor’s who can call 911. Children, especially younger ones, don’t necessarily comprehend the dangers of fire. Make sure they understand that once they are safely outside they never go back into the house for anything! Hold a mock fire drill and set your smoke detectors off so children become acquainted with the sound. Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out in the case of fire. Also, demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.

Many schools take trips to fire departments but if your child does not have this opportunity, call and ask for a visit. The sight of firefighters in all their gear and masks can be frightening to a child and in the event of a fire they might hide from them. Be sure to ask for stickers to be placed on bedroom windows alerting firefighters which bedrooms are occupied by children.

The following are a few tips to keep your home and your children safe from fire:

  • Have a portable fire extinguisher easily accessible in fire hazard areas, such as the kitchen and fireplace.
  • Ensure that extension cords are UL-listed and connected to an outlet. Do not connect one extension cord to another. Electrical outlets are designed for a certain amount of power demand. The use of multiple outlet extension cords can easily overload a circuit. It is also important not to run extension cords under rugs or carpets as they could become hot and start to burn.
  • Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials and remove them entirely from children’s bedrooms.  
  • Do not leave children alone around open flames, stoves or candles.
  • Keep matches, gasoline, lighters, paint thinners and other flammable materials out of children's reach, away from sources of heat and outside of the home.
  • Make sure space heaters include a tip-over switch that shuts off automatically if accidentally turned over. Keep space heaters off of carpeting and at least three feet from draperies, blankets and sofas.
  • Fire retardant pajamas and blankets are always a good idea for your child.

Our Picks for Parents

Safety 1st Color View Video Monitor
You have an LCD screen in your family room, why not have one in the nursery also? Keep an eye on your child with the latest in technological breakthroughs. The Safety 1st Color View Video Monitor boasts a high-resolution 2.5” color LCD screen and a crib mounting option to help parents maintain a clear, close-up view of their growing child. You’ll have a picture-perfect view of your little one thanks to advanced 2.4 GHz technology. It’s also easy to customize the Color View Video Monitor as your child grows. As an infant, you can enjoy the unique advantage of attaching the camera to the side of your baby’s crib for an unbeatable close-up view. An adjustable mounting post also keeps the power cord out of baby’s reach! Then as your child gets older the camera can be mounted to the wall or placed on bedside furniture – providing peace of mind for parents!

(0-6 months)
Safety 1st Deluxe Comfort Sway Lounger
Rock-a-bye baby! The Safety 1st Deluxe Comfort Sway Lounger is a luxurious rocking lounger that soothes and calms baby by combining a gentle automatic side-to-side swaying motion and comforting vibration. It also has a fun, deluxe toy bar with nature sounds and music to entertain baby. So whether you are using it to lull your baby to sleep or simply as a place to put her down for a rest …this lounger truly embraces your baby in comfort.

(7-12 months)
Safety 1st Oven Front Latch
As your child is just beginning to pull up and stand up on his own, make sure he isn’t reaching for the oven door. This fire hazard and danger zone should be off-limits for children. Keep the oven securely closed with a Safety 1st Oven Front Latch to prevent potential burns or injuries. Convenient for parents to open but will help keep little ones out!

(13-24 months)
Safety 1st On-the-Go Fold Up Booster Seat
This booster seat is perfect for the family on-the-go! Travel friendly features include a built-in carry handle, retractable chair straps and the ability to compactly fold, making this seat ideal for storage as well. A sturdy high back keeps your child secure and a contoured design makes for easy clean up. All this and two levels of height adjustment, so you and your child can enjoy through their toddler years!

(25-36 months)
Safety 1st Secure Options Bed Rail Set
Your toddler is getting bigger. They’re going through many new transitions and one is getting ready for a “big kid” bed. Prepare them for this step with a little extra security. Ideal for children 2-5 years of age, the Safety 1st Bed Rail Set extends 36” and fits a variety of mattress depths (4”-10”) and is 8” high for full coverage. The set comes with two bed rails – one for each side of the bed, to keep your child snug (and you at ease) in their new “big kid” environment.

A Note From Our Author

Writing this month’s newsletter brought many memories back of my beloved Connor who died from SIDS in 1997. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to channel my grief into a new career and a mission to help other parents avoid tragedies and, in other cases, lend grieving parents support.

SIDS is a senseless death. You want to blame something or someone, but there is nothing. It’s unpreventable and unpredictable. Oh, don’t get me wrong, for quite some time I blamed myself and came up with irrational reasons – I fed him strained peas, we took him on a plane trip to visit relatives and, the best of all, I’m his mother and I just should have known something was wrong! But eventually you come to realize it’s none of these reasons and you’re left with unresolved questions.

But I’ve learned a great deal – the importance of empathy, not blowing life’s daily hassles out of proportion and, above all, being grateful for every moment I have with my children. That’s not to say they don’t drive me crazy sometimes, but I now know that the unimaginable can happen – you can lose a child. So now I just try to be the best mom I can and appreciate every minute of it.

Meet Our Author

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Alison Rhodes and I live in Wilton, CT with my husband, two children and two dogs.  My first child, Connor, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1997 – he would have been 8 years old.  My son Spencer is 7 and my daughter Kelsey just turned 3.  I’m expecting another baby this November.  Needless to say, my life is crazy sometimes!  I’ve teamed up with Safety 1st to develop this newsletter because I wanted to provide parents with important information on child safety.  After Connor’s death, infant and child safety became my passion.  I might not be able to prevent SIDS but if I can help prevent one childhood accident I’ve done something in honor of him.

Alison is the founder of Peek-a-Boo Babyproofing, a baby-safety company servicing Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.  The company partners with parents to create a safer environment for infants and toddlers through education and installation of baby safety products.  For additional baby safety tips visit their website at www.peekaboobabyproofing.com.

Missed the last issue? Check out the Safety 1st and Foremost archive.
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