Some new parents feel a lot of anxiety about welcoming a baby. Their apprehension about keeping a young baby alive is channeled into buying the very latest gadgets for their child. Unfortunately, not all baby products on the market are safe for babies. If you are a parent or about to be a parent for the first time, you will have to do your research before buying products for your child. Just because something is for sale doesn’t actually mean that it’s safe for your baby. Some products can lead to minor injuries, but some have actually been linked to infant deaths. Be sure to review the items on this list to make sure you are not using any of them with your child. Their safety should be your number one priority.
1. Bumbo Seats
The Bumbo helps babies sit up for mealtime and playtime; however, if left alone, a baby can easily tip over in it. If the baby is placed on a raised surface, like a counter or tabletop, the baby could get seriously hurt if he falls to the floor. The original version was recalled in 2007, and the product now includes a strap to keep baby harnessed. But having a strap is not enough to keep the entire Bumbo from falling over with baby still inside. A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety alert from November 2011 cited 45 occurrences of babies falling out of their seats; seventeen of these babies experienced skull fractures. Instead of a Bumbo, try a bouncing seat or activity center placed on the floor.
Although babies may love them, doorway jumpers can put them in serious jeopardy. Poorly secured jumpers can fall apart and overly enthusiastic babies can bounce so high they bonk their noggins on the doorway. After 29,000 doorway jumpers were recalled in 2005, the CPSC issued a report saying the product had caused “amputation, crushing, lacerations, fractures, hematomas, bruises, or other injuries to fingers, toes, or other parts of the anatomy of young children.” Best to keep your baby out of the jumper.
3. Sleep Positioners
Ironically, this product is supposed to keep your infant safe as they sleep. Instead, babies can find themselves buried face-first in the foam sides and suffocate. The CPSC has identified 13 infant deaths resulting from sleep positioners over the last 13 years. Parents may use sleep positioners because of the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to put babies on their backs to sleep. But they also say that it is okay if babies roll over or move on their own in the middle of the night. Babies do not need an outside positioner to keep them in position, especially if that positioner could cause them to suffocate. Other positioners are designed to help babies with reflux. If you have concerns about reflux, speak with your doctor instead of using an unsafe product.
4. Car Seat Toys
Car seat toys may seem like a great way to keep your child entertained on long car rides; however, experts recommend only using the car seat toys that come with your baby’s car seat. Car seat manufacturers crash test their car seats, and they test them with their toys attached. Because toys from third parties aren’t tested, there is no way to guarantee that they would stay attached in a car accident. You wouldn’t want a dislodged toy harming your child in the event of a car crash. Stick to the toys that come with the car seat.
5. Bath Seat
While this product is perfectly safe when used with adult supervision, experts fear that it may delude parents into thinking it’s safe to leave their infants unattended in the bath. The product can easily fall over with the baby inside, risking an infant drowning. The CPSC reported 174 deaths and 300 accidents associated with the product between 1983 and 2009. In lieu of a bath seat, you can use a hard plastic baby bathtub. No matter how you bathe your child, never leave them by themselves.
Mothers around the world have slept with their babies for generations. Nursing mothers in particular like sleeping with their babies to make nursing easier. But there has been a growing number of reported cases of babies dying while sleeping with their parents. The AAP does not recommend co-sleeping because of the possibility that a parent can roll onto their baby and suffocate them. Co-sleepers came on the market to address this problem, but they still pose a danger to babies. Babies can roll into the foam sides of co-sleepers and suffocate. The flimsy foam sides also cannot withstand the weight of a full-grown adult, so they don’t even protect babies. For now, baby experts recommend putting your baby is in a four-sided crib with a fitted mattress.
7. Baby Slings
Parents enjoy using baby slings for a variety of reasons including having a hands-free way to keep their babies snuggled close. While parents have been using front carriers for years, the improper use of sling carriers can be very harmful to infants. Sling carriers have been responsible for 14 infant deaths over the past two decades. Babies have suffocated and have also fallen out of the slings leading to skull fractures and other head injuries. If you would still like to use a front carrier, choose one that complies with safety standards. You should also keep your baby upright and at a “kissable” level to prevent breathing problems.
8. Crib Bumpers
Crib bumpers have been popular among parents who have concerns about hard crib bars. Parents feel that the crib bumpers protect their baby from hitting their head on the crib bars or from getting their arm or leg stuck in between the bars. But crib bumpers often do more harm than good. Babies have suffocated after rolling into the bumpers. Many parenting classes warn people about the dangers they pose, and the AAP advises parents not to use them. Some states, including Maryland, have banned crib bumpers outright. Put your baby to sleep in a crib with nothing except a fitted sheet.
A few decades ago most babies spent at least a little time in a walker. After a number of reported cases of children falling down stairs while using walkers, the AAP began calling for a ban on the product. The CPSC has estimated that 4,000 children were injured in walkers in 2010 alone. Walkers are not only dangerous, but they have also been shown to limit the development of walking. Even walkers that claim to meet current safety criteria are not safe for babies. They cannot guarantee that they will keep your baby from tumbling down a staircase. A better option for your child is a stationary activity center. They resemble walkers, but children can only spin around in place instead of getting themselves into trouble.
10. Drop-Side Cribs
The sides of these cribs are made to slide down so it’s easy for Mom and Dad to grab the baby, but these moving parts aren’t very safe. These cribs have been responsible for 32 deaths since the year 2000 including infant suffocation and strangling. Millions of these cribs were recalled before the CPSC banned them in 2011. To keep your baby safe from these dangers, purchase a new crib f0r them with fixed sides. If you get a used crib, choose one made after June 2011 when the stricter standards were put in place.
11. Crib Tents
Parents have used crib tents to keep their babies from climbing out of their cribs. Others use them to protect their child from curious pets or from bugs if the baby is in a play yard outside. Unsurprisingly, crib tents are not safe for babies. Infants and toddlers can get caught in the fabric and be strangled or trapped between the tent and the crib rails. Some crib tents have also been known to collapse and injure babies. If you are worried about your child climbing out of their crib, it is likely time to upgrade to a toddler bed. It will be a bigger pain for you, but you’ll feel better knowing your little one isn’t at risk of being suffocated or strangled.
12. Changing Tables
Parents use changing tables everywhere they go, and unfortunately, not all of them are safely designed. Whenever you can, use a changing table with four sides. More than 4,500 kids were injured in changing table accidents in 2009. Prevent your child from being a statistic and use a changing table at home with four sides to reduce the risk of falling. If your table has a strap, use it when changing your baby’s diaper to keep them secure in case you look away for a moment. You can also change your baby’s diaper on the floor on top of a changing pad.
13. Furniture That Isn’t Secure
Toppling furniture can be a huge hazard to babies. This applies to furniture all over your home, not just the furniture in your baby’s room. In the eight-year span between 2000 and 2008, almost 200 children were killed by furniture tipping over. Most of these children were 5 years old or younger. An additional 16,000 children 5 and younger went to the emergency room for their injuries. While it’s not necessary to buy new furniture to keep your child safe, you need to secure your furniture to the wall. Follow instructions included with the furniture or safety kit to make sure you are doing it correctly.
14. Blankets and Pillows
Who doesn’t love an adorable baby blanket or pillow? They are soft and cuddly, and they are a favorite gift for family and friends to give your little one. Unfortunately, they are dangerous for babies. Infants have been smothered by pillows and suffocated by their blankets. Avoid this tragedy by keeping your baby away from pillows and blankets, both theirs and yours. It is best for babies to sleep in their own cribs, with a tight fitted sheet over their mattress. If you are concerned about them getting cold in the middle of the night, dress them in a sleep suit or footed pajamas. If you have a favorite baby blanket you just can’t part with, hang it on the wall or use it when you snuggle with your baby (out of your bed, of course).