Tips for parents to safeguard their children

They say parents know best, but what if you are a new parent who doesn't know it all quite yet?

"Unfortunately, babies do not come with a safety manual. Sometimes parents do things that are well-intentioned but can be unsafe for their child," said Mary Evelyn O'Neil, M.D., pediatrician, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Having a child can be overwhelming and many people have their own version of parenting, but O'Neil has a few tips that all parents should know not to do.

•Most parents don't know that bumper pads in their child's crib can actually cause injuries instead of preventing them. According to The Journal of Pediatrics, there have been 27 accidental deaths of children ages 1 month to 2 years in the last 20 years due to bumper pads suffocating, entrapping or strangling them.

•Do not let babies sleep in a swing for an extended period of time. Parents may not want to risk waking a sleeping child, but prolonged sleeping in a sitting position may make it difficult for the child to get enough oxygen and can result in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If a child falls asleep in the car, make sure to immediately take him or her out of the car seat and place them in their crib when you arrive at home.

•Do not put a child in a bigger car seat thinking they will eventually grow into it. This can put their life at risk, and they are safer in a car seat that fits them.

•Do not heat baby bottles in a microwave. BPA products have chemicals that leach from plastic when triggered by heat, and the uneven warming of the liquid can increase the chance of burning a child's mouth.

•Babies should be placed on their backs when going to sleep. This will cut down on the chances of their dying from SIDS. When children are awake, some time on their bellies will help them develop upper-body strength when they push up in attempts to crawl, and will prevent skull deformities. However, they should sleep on their backs.

Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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