Baby Safety

Five must-have safety products for new parents

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest responsibilities you will ever take on. Keeping your child safe can be stressful and exhausting, but using baby safety products can help make your job a little easier.

Car Seats

Choosing the correct child safety seat is one of the most important decisions you'll make. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides information as part of the Child Passenger Safety Program. The organization recommends that you fill out the registration cards that come with new child safety seats and booster seats. That way, you can be contacted if there is a recall. If you don't receive a card, contact the manufacturer.

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The organization also provides information about which way the child safety seat should face. For example, from birth up to one year, the seat should be rear-facing, and should sit at a 30- to 45-degree angle. Check the website for more information.

Baby Gates

In order to control the rooms your baby has access to, buy child safety gates. Gates should also block staircases. There are two general categories of gates: pressure and mounted. Pressure gates are put in between two walls, and with the push of a handle, the gate is held in place. They tend to be cheaper. The mounted style, however, are generally more sturdy because parents have to install a type of mount on the wall.

Before purchasing a gate, ensure that it is sturdy. Read the product guidelines to ensure that the gate can be used for the function you have in mind, such as at the top of the staircase. Also, remember that even though you have a gate you still need to keep a close eye on your child.

Babyproofing

One of the cheapest things you can do is buy electric socket protectors. These fat, plastic plugs that are inserted into sockets can help prevent electrocution by making sure curious children can't stick their fingers or other objects into open electrical sockets. These devices are available at most hardware stores.

Locking drawers and cabinets with safety latches and locks is another cheap step you can take to ensure your child's safety. These devices could prevent your child from coming into contact with harmful chemicals and sharp objects. These latches and locks are available from most hardware stores, and start at around $2. Remember that no device is 100 percent safe, so try to place all dangerous items in cupboards that are out of the baby's reach.

One of the most overlooked safety devices is the smoke detector. Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of your house. In addition, they should be placed inside and outside of each bedroom. Smoke detectors last for about 8 to 10 years - after that, you should buy a new one. You might want to write the purchase date inside the smoke detector, so you'll have a reference later on.

Baby safety products can help ensure that you and your family have a safe and happy life. No matter what the product is, always be sure to read the instructions before use.