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Hidden Dangers in Baby Proofing

Aug 17, 2007
As a mom to a 6 month old, this baby proofing thing is all new territory to me. There are so many things to think about, and the cold hard truth is that some of the "so-called" baby proofing products can actually do more harm then good! Keep reading to find out the top five products that most parents don't think about when it comes to baby proofing their homes.

#1 Sippy Cups. While they may appear convenient, sippy cups are nothing more than baby bottles in disguise, says the American Dental Association. So when an infant sucks on one, the milk or juice comes in direct contact with the back of the teeth and generates bacteria.

What should you use instead? To curb tooth decay the American Dental Association says babies should stop using a bottle and begin drinking out of a regular cup by their first birthday. If some hand-holding is required during the transition, consider a training cup with a lid and open spout that will teach your child how to properly sip a beverage while limiting spills.

#2 Wipe Warmers. Most parents would never consider wrapping their baby in an electric blanket. Yet many mothers and fathers buy baby-wipe warmers that carry the same risk of starting a fire. Over the past decade at least three manufacturers had their warmers recalled by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission when cracks in the interior tub allowed water to come into contact with the unit's electrical components.

#3 Plastic Outlet Covers. At first glance they seem brilliant. Just pop one in and no small fingers will be finding their way into the socket. What parents don't consider is that a baby can easily choke on one if Mom pulls the cover out to do a little vacuuming and then forgets to reinsert it into the wall. "As a general rule anything that is small enough to fit through the tube of a roll of toilet paper is a choking hazard," says Dr. Garry Gardner, a pediatrician who sits on the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Instead, parents should consider swapping out their traditional outlet plate covers with one that has sliding plastic doors to cover the sockets, suggests Fields. They're not only safer, but also more convenient to use.

#4 It can be tempting to adorn a nursery with cozy bedding sets complete with fluffy quilt, bumper and matching pillows. But most safety gurus recommend avoiding them for fear of suffocation or rebreathing (when a child breathes in his previously exhaled carbon dioxide) that can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). "We believe the crib should be bare," says Don Mays, senior director of product safety and consumer sciences for Consumer Reports. "Put the baby in warm clothing and remove all soft bedding."

#5 Another sleeping hazard: the sleep positioner. This is a piece of foam that's used to prevent a baby from turning over onto his or her stomach. (Sleep gurus warn that infants shouldn't sleep on their tummies since it could cause SIDS.) "While it was designed for safety it actually compromises it," says Consumer Reports' Mays. As babies in a positioner turn their heads from side to side the foam can conform to the face and cause suffocation and rebreathing.

A safer sleep option is to snuggly swaddle infants for the first few months. Then once they are strong enough to turn over on their own, it's safe to let them move around and sleep however they want.
About the Author
Sarah Jones is a first time mom to a young son, and runs a blog entitled "The Adventures of Super-Mommy and Spitup Boy (http://www.super-mommy.com) She has just published her first book. "Diapers on a Dime", which is available for sale on her website. Super-Mommy.com
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