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The Safety Game

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From the moment you learn you're pregnant, keeping your baby safe is your number one concern. Babies and small children depend on their parents to keep them safe, and, at the same time, to allow them to explore their world and make new discoveries every day. Safety means looking at the environment and matching it up to your own baby's abilities at that time. It means making changes in the environment as your baby moves through each development stage.

Anticipating what you'll need to do to keep danger out of your baby's reach is the key part of the safety game. Setting up safe ways and places for your baby to explore works better than planning to watch your baby every second — an impossible task.

The safety rules change with your baby's age, but some general principles of safety apply to every child. Read the following checklist for the best safety rules of thumb. For more age-specific safety information, see our safety-by-age article.

Never shake a baby

Shaking a baby, even playfully, can cause bleeding in her brain and rip nerves and muscles. Shaken Baby Syndrome can result in blindness, brain damage, or death. Taking care of a baby is a tough job, and in the early days it's often difficult to fathom why your baby is crying. Feeling angry and frustrated sometimes is normal. But no matter how frustrated you get, NEVER shake or jiggle your baby violently. If you feel yourself losing control, seek help from your mate, a friend or relative, or a professional. Never shake a baby as part of a game, either. It's just too dangerous.

Never leave your baby alone

Even newborns can occasionally turn over or flip around, so never leave your baby alone in the tub, on a raised surface like a changing table, or on an adult bed. If the phone rings, take the baby with you (or let the answering machine pick up the call). And never leave a baby in a car by herself, even for a minute. Emergencies can happen in an instant, and your child needs an adult with her at all times.

 
 

 

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