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Infant Safety Hazards


Danger:Water in cleaning buckets

About 30 children  -- most of them infants  -- die each year from drowning in buckets. "The baby crawls over, falls headfirst into the bucket, and then can't right himself," says Feuerborn.

Lifesaver: Make sure your baby is secure in his crib or playpen while you're cleaning. (Also keep toilet lids shut so he can't topple in.)

Danger: Infant bathing seats

More than half of infant drownings occur in bathtubs  -- but don't buy a bathing seat because you think it will make tubtime safer. There have been hundreds of deaths and injuries related to baby bath seats, which give parents a false sense of security, so they leave their babies unattended in them. "Usually, the suction cups on the bottom of the seat detach from the tub, and the baby gets trapped underwater in the seat," says Dr. Sheehan.

Lifesaver: Skip the bathing seat; instead, be sure all supplies are within reach of where you'll be washing your baby (whether it's a bathtub or baby tub), says Dr. Sheehan. And never turn your back.

Danger: Kiddie pools

Each year an estimated 300 children under age 4 drown in swimming pools  -- something to keep in mind if you're taking a warm-weather vacation this season. "We're particularly worried about the larger wading pools," says Appy. "Parents don't usually empty them after each use, but because they're smaller than built-in pools, parents don't invest in safety precautions like fences."

Lifesaver: If you have a large wading pool, consider buying a small fence with a gate to encircle it. Also, if you're visiting someone who has a pool, don't assume safety precautions have been taken, and always stay within arm's length of your baby.