Make Sure Baby Safety Products Are Really Safe
Some devices that are supposed to protect children can actually put them in danger. Find out which nine products are harmful and how to protect your child.
Plastic Outlet Covers
The Risk: Outlet covers help prevent your child from getting electrocuted, but small plastic plug-in models can pose a deadly choking hazard. Even if the caps seem to fit snugly, they tend to loosen with use.
Safe Strategy: Get covers that screw into the wall and slide shut when outlets aren't in use, or block unused outlets with furniture. The Home Safety Council recommends that if you use plug-in covers, you should look for ones that are too big to fit through a toilet-paper tube, or choose devices that you must twist or squeeze to remove.
Bath Seats and Rings
The Risk: They help babies sit up in the bathtub, but if you leave a baby alone in one -- even for a few seconds -- he can drown. The seats, which typically stick to the tub with suction cups, have been blamed for 123 drownings since 1983, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The suction cups can suddenly release, causing babies to tip over or slide between the legs of the ring and become trapped underwater.
Safe Strategy: Consider using a small plastic tub instead. Always keep babies within arm's reach in the bath. "You should never leave a baby alone in the bath, even for a moment," says Denise Dowd, MD, an emergency-room pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital, in Kansas City, Missouri.
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