The Injury Prevention Program
Birth to Six Months
Did you know that every month nearly 400 children under 4 years old die in the United States because of accidents? Most of these accidents can be prevented.
Often, accidents happen because parents are not aware of what their children can do. Children learn fast, and in no time at all a child who can barely lift his head will be wiggling off a bed or reaching for your cup of hot coffee.
Car crashes are the biggest danger to your child’s life and health. Most auto injuries and deaths can be prevented by the use of car safety seats. Besides being much safer in a car seat, your child will behave better, so you can pay attention to your driving. Ask your doctor which seats are safe. Make the “First Ride” a safe ride home from the hospital.
Make certain that your baby’s car seat is installed properly. Use it every time your child is in the car.
As soon as he is born your baby will wiggle and move and push against things with his feet. Even these very first movements can result in a fall. As he grows, he will suddenly be able to roll over and fall off everything. Do not leave him alone on high places such as changing tables, beds, sofas or chairs. If left unprotected, he will fall.
He may be able to crawl as early as six months. Use gates on stairways and keep him out of rooms where he might hurt himself.
Call your doctor if your child falls and hits his head, or if he does not move his arms and legs normally after a fall.
At 3 to 5 months, your baby will wave his fists and grab at things. NEVER eat, drink or carry anything hot near your baby or while you are holding him. He will get burned. You can’t handle both!
If your child does get burned, put the burned area in cold water immediately. Then cover the burn loosely with a bandage or clean cloth. Call your doctor for all burns. To protect your child from scalds, reduce the temperature of your hot water to 120F.
To protect your child from house fires, be sure you have a smoke alarm in your house.
Your baby will soon be exploring his environment by putting anything and everything into his mouth. NEVER leave small objects in your baby’s reach, even for a moment. NEVER feed him hard pieces of food. He may choke. Be prepared for this very serious event. Learn how to save the life of a choking child. Your doctor will recommend the steps you need to know.
One of the biggest threats to your baby’s life and health is an accident.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Supported by an educational grant from McNeil Consumer Products Company.
Developed in part by the Division of Maternal and Child Health, DHHS.