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Safety Measures: First Six Months

Physical development goes in fits and starts, and a baby’s common sense is nonexistent. It isn’t enough to be careful about what you do, you have to foresee what he might do. These are some of the things that often catch parent unaware:

• Babies who aren’t crawling yet can wriggle and roll themselves off changing tables or off the top of stairs. Play safe before you think you need to.

• Baby seats on worktops can be lethal. Babies work them to the edge as they crane their heads forward. Keep them on the floor.

• Babies can fall out of high chairs much sooner than you expect. Make safety an early habit.

• The kind of walker on casters which babies can scoot around the room can crash into steps or fireplaces. They should be banned.

• The more beloved your dog, the greater the chances of a jealous attack on the baby; don’t leave them alone in reach of each other.

• As soon as your baby puts her hands in her mouth, she’ll put anything else there too. Look out for sharp objects or things small enough to choke her.

• If you tie anything within your baby’s reach, do it with a thread you can break without effort; anything else could strangle.

• Babies often choke on drinks or finger foods, and when they do, they need help. Never leave yours while she’s eating or sucking a bottle.

Penelope Leach, Ph.D., is one of the world’s most respected (and best-loved) developmental child psychologists. She is most widely known for her best-selling books on child development and parenting. They include Babyhood, Children First: What Society Must Do — and Is Not Doing — for Our Children Today, the classic Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (now in a new edition for a new generation), and Your Growing Child: From Babyhood Through Adolescence.


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