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Safety Tips for Babies and Young Children

All parents are concerned about the safety of their children. Fortunately, there is a great deal of good information available about how to keep your growing child safe. 

Here are a few key situations where you can prevent injury to your child:

Car seats

  • Always secure children in a properly installed car seat that is correctly adjusted to fit them.
  • Read (and keep) the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the seat. You may also need to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Safe sleep

  • Put your baby to sleep on their back in a crib/cradle/bassinet that meets Health Canada Safety Standards. Their first six months should be in your room.
  • A baby should sleep on a firm surface without blankets, pillows, toys, bumper pads or “positioners”. All these items can potentially suffocate a baby and have been associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Car seats, swings, strollers and playpens are not safe places for your baby to sleep unsupervised.
  • Never tie anything around your baby’s neck (teething necklaces, pacifiers) or dress them in clothes with drawstrings.  Keep blind cords (or any other cords/ropes or strings) far out of reach.  Take steps to prevent strangulation which can occur quickly and quietly.

Prevent falls and drowning

  • Never leave your baby unattended on any surface or in the bath.  
  • Always keep one hand on them if you must glance away.
  • Let the phone or doorbell ring or take your baby with you.
  • Baby walkers are banned in Canada. Use a stationary activity centre when your baby is developmentally ready.

Prevent choking

  • Always hold your baby to bottle-feed them.
  • Pacifiers/soothers should be of one-piece construction.
  • Keep small objects out of reach and out of sight. Babies are faster and more mobile than you think!
  • Know when your baby is ready to start solid foods (around six months) and which foods to avoid until they are older.

Never shake a baby!

The message is out there! Sadly, it still happens. Being a new parent can be exhausting. If you feel your frustration rising, ask for help. If you are alone, put your baby in a safe place and take a break. It is difficult to hear your baby cry, but it is important you take care of yourself too! 

Supervision is key to keeping your baby or young child safe! If you have any questions, see https://www.healthunit.com/safety or call the Health Unit to speak to a Public Health Nurse – 519-663-5317.

 Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2019). Child car seat safety. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/car-seat-safety

 Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2019). Safe sleep. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/safe-sleep

 Best Start. (2020). How to keep your baby safe. In Your guide to postpartum. (pp. 17-23). Retrieved from https://resources.beststart.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/E51-E-Your-Guide-to-Postpartum-20200915-AODA-Final-optimized.pdf

 Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2016). Choking safety. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/choking-safety


 Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2017).  Crying. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/crying


Heather Bywaters RN PHN
Middlesex-London Health Unit
For the Middlesex-London Community Early Years Partnership


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