When a new baby is on the way one of the first things expecting parents do is go out and purchase all of the necessary baby products. Blue items for a boy, pink items for a girl, and yellow products for those parents who choose to wait to learn the baby's sex. But not all baby products share equal levels of safety.
In 2011, 40 percent of all recalls were for kids products, according to the latest report from Consumer Reports. Published in the June 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, the report focuses on 12 baby products than can be extremely harmful to your little one, and also discusses what parents should do to ensure child safety when purchasing products for them.
The report also provide suggestions on how to keep your child safe while you're using specific products such as, baby monitors, safety gates, and jogging strollers.
"Many people think that if a product is for sale in stores that it must be safe," noted Lisa Lee Free, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "But that's not always true. Many widely sold baby products can put your child at risk of injuries or even death."
The first piece of advice when buying baby products according to the report, is to mail in the product's registration card, as this is typically used to keep parents abreast of any safety problems with the product.
PhotoWhen putting babies to sleep in their cribs, parents should stay away from certain sleep barriers like, blankets, pillows, bumpers or sleep positioners. They can all lead to potential suffocation if your child moves the wrong way. The report tells consumers to place your baby in an empty crib with just one fitted sheet. Also, parents should use footed or heavier pajamas to keep babies warm instead of thick blankets or comforters.
Also, when purchasing a crib, parents should select a full-sized crib with immovable sides, as opposed to a crib that has sides that drop. They should also stay away from bedside sleepers as both products can cause suffocation. As previously reported by ConsumerAffairs in Febuary of 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the drop-side crib, but no safety regulations were applied to bedside sleepers. Parents should avoid both, according to the report.
And when its time to give baby a bath, avoid using infant bath seats. They are used so the baby can sit upright above the water, but many children can tip over in the seat, or it can give way by excessive movement. The report explains how these bath seats provide a false sense of security, and parents should instead use hard plastic baby bathtub's to ensure better safety.
To avoid strangulation, keep cords from baby monitors and window blinds, curtains and shades out of baby's reach.
For items with harnesses -- such as car seats, high chairs, bouncers and strollers -- always opt for a model with a five-point harness, as they are much safer than those with a three-point. Always fasten the harness and keep it fastened until you are ready to remove the baby from the product -- babies have been killed or injured when their harness was not fastened securely and they fell, sometimes from a height of several feet.
Babies should be at least a year old before taking them jogging in a jogging stroller. A young infant who can't hold his or her head up risks asphyxia if not properly reclined. Instead, take brisk walks using a stroller that lets babies lie on their backs or one that accepts a car seat.
A pressure-mounted safety gate can help keep your babies from going up the stairs, but are not strong enough to keep them from falling down. Use a hardware-mounted model at the top of stairs, indoors or out. No gate is a substitute for careful supervision of a baby or toddler.
Use cool-mist humidifiers in your child's room instead of warm-mist humidifiers or vaporizers whose steam can cause burns or that have dangerously hot surfaces. When not in use, remove the humidifier from the room so children can't spill the water or play with the power cord, risking electrocution.