By: Jennifer Lonergan
Throughout the year, we have different months assigned to specific safety cautions. In March, there is Ladder Safety. May has three categories: National Electric Safety, Motorcycle Safety, and Building Safety and so on for the other months.
June is dedicated to safety in our everyday lives, not just specific occupations or activities. It is for everyone, with daily activities that affect all of us.
In 1996 The National Safety Council established June as National Safety Month, with each week focusing on different areas that apply to everyone:
Each year, the focus within these categories changes year to year. For a more detailed list, visit https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/get-involved/national-safety-month
Home is the one focus that involves everyone. For me, I only thought about home safety when I became a parent. Before researching and speaking with other parents, I knew the basics: electrical socket plugs, lock kitchen cabinets, keep medicines up high, cleaning products out of reach and if you’re around my age, how can you forget Bugs Bunny reminding you to “keep those pot handles turned in?”
While these steps are absolutely necessary, I was surprised to learn that suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 4. In 2017 in the US alone over 1,000 children under the age of 4 died from mechanical suffocating and choking.
The National Safety Council defines mechanical suffocation as one who “loses the ability to breathe due to strangulation, or smothering by bed clothes, plastic bags or similar materials.”
To combat this, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, using the hashtag #bareisbest, has compiled some helpful guidelines.
To help combat these specific areas parents are advised:
- To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in a baby’s sleep environment.
- Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
- Proper assembly of cribs is paramount. Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.
- Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.
- Set up play yards properly according to manufacturers’ directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play yard; do not add extra padding.
- Never place a crib near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords; babies can strangle on cords.
Some of these guidelines are the results of tragedy.
Parents share their stories to help inform and educate to prevent further tragedies.
An informed and educated parent is something every child deserves.