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September is Baby Safety Month

23 ways to keep toddlers safe at home

Baby's water safety is an important issue for parents and caregivers. "Many parents and caregivers are not aware of the water hazards in and around their homes," said Bob Waller, president of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). "That is why this year JPMA is working toward making parents and caregivers more aware of the dangers that exist and what can be done to prevent such hazards."

The following points are what every parent and caregiver should know:

General Water Safety

• Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pools, streams, ponds, lakes, bath tubs, hot tubs, toilets, buckets, sinks, coolers and fish tanks), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.

• Don't rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental/caregiver supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air or slip out from underneath a child, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.

• Parents/caregivers should take a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course. Knowing these skills is important around the water and will expand your capabilities to provide care for your child. It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.

• Never leave a container with even a small amount of liquid unattended. When finished using a container, empty it immediately. Do not leave empty containers outside in the yard or around the house, where they may accumulate water and attract young children.

• Store containers where young children cannot reach them. Use safety latches on lower drawers and cabinet doors to ensure they cannot be opened by children.

Bath Safety

• Before you begin, have all supplies within arm's reach and in front of you.

• DO NOT leave a baby unattended for even a second. Baby bath seats and baby bathtubs are not a substitute for supervision. All warnings and manufacturer's instructions should be strictly followed when using a baby bath seat. They are only bathing aids, not safety devices.

• If you need to leave the bathroom, take the baby with you. Do not rely on older children/siblings to watch the baby for you.

• DO NOT use a baby bath seat in a tub with a textured or non-skid bottom - the seat's suction cups may not stick. If the bath seat moves or tips while your child is in it, stop using it.

• Never leave a child unattended while filling the bathtub and always empty bath water immediately after use. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.

• Test temperature with your elbow or a thermometer. Temperature should be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Consider placing a latch on the bathroom door to keep children out of the bathroom when unsupervised.

• Keep the toilet lid down to prevent access to the water. Consider using a toilet seat lock to prevent children from opening the lid.

Pool, Spa, and Hot Tub Safety

• Consider enrolling children age four and over in a water safety course or learn to swim program. Courses for children UNDER the age of four are ONLY for enjoyment with a parent/caregiver.

• Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically does NOT recommend swimming lessons for kids UNDER the age of four because these children are not developmentally ready to swim and because it may make parents/caregivers less cautious in their supervision, creating a false sense of security.

• Never leave a child unobserved around water. A parent/caregiver's eyes MUST be on the child at all times. An older child/sibling is no substitute for adult supervision.

• Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

• Know how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

• Enclose the pool completely with a barrier. Fences should be at least four feet high and have self-latching, self-closing gates. Layers of protection are important, so also consider using door and pool alarms and pool safety covers.

• Be sure to lock or remove ladders from above-ground pools. Remove all toys from pools to avoid children being tempted to retrieve them.

• Always secure safety covers and barriers to prevent children from gaining access to spas or hot tubs when not in use.

• If a child is missing, always look in the pool or spa first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

• Hot tubs also can pose a drowning and overheating risk to very young children. Check with your pediatrician before allowing children to use a hot tub.

Every year JPMA rallies retailers across the nation to help support the safety education message through in-store Baby Safety Month promotions. JPMA provides retailers with a Baby Safety Month promotional kit that includes all of the necessary tools and information to hold successful educational seminars.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. is a national trade organization of more than 400 companies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These companies manufacture and/or import infant products such as cribs, car seats, strollers, bedding, and a wide range of accessories and decorative items.