Whatever your child’s age, you want to keep her safe. But the most common dangers she’ll face will change every few months; your strategies should too:
AGE: 0 to 2 months
Risk: Falls, predominantly from changing tables and front carriers
Prevention: Never leave an infant unattended on a high surface. With carriers, strap her in.
AGE: 2 to 5 months
Risk: Battering and shaken baby syndrome
Prevention: Make sure all caregivers know that shaking a baby — even “just a little” — can cause serious injury or fatalities.
AGE: 6 to 8 months
Risk: Falls from furniture
Prevention: Now that babies can roll and crawl, watch out for beds, couches, or other high surfaces. Best bet: the floor.
AGE: 8 to 11 months
Risk: Swallowing foreign objects and choking
Prevention: Avoid hot dogs and grapes; cut foods into little pieces, and cook them until they’re soft. Keep small items (coins, paper clips, older-kid toys with tiny parts) stored well away.
AGE: 12 to 17 months
Risk: Hot-liquid burns and drowning
Prevention: Toddlers can knock hot foods off coffee tables, so when she starts to pull herself up on living room furniture, clear all surfaces. Supervise every moment she’s around water: bathtubs, buckets, wading pools.
AGE: 1 1/2 to 3 years
Risk: Medication poisoning
Prevention: Request childproof caps for any medicine you bring home. It’s essential to store it out of your child’s reach.
AGE: 3 to 4 years
Risk: Car accidents, on the road or in driveways
Prevention: Be vigilant around driveways: When possible, another adult should be sure any kids are far away when you back out or drive in. Get your car seats checked to make certain they’re installed right.