The following safety tips checklist is provided to help care givers and parents provide a safer environment for young children.
Make sure cribs meet current safety standards, are assembled correctly, are in good condition, and have mattresses that fit snugly. Look for a certification safety seal on the crib. Older cribs may not meet current standards.
Following these Safe to Sleep® recommendations can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), prevent strangulation and suffocation, and keep babies sleeping safely:
Put babies to sleep on their backs in a properly assembled crib that is free from pillows, pillow-like toys, and thick quilted bedding. Remember – "bare is best!"
Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
Never place a crib near a window with blinds, curtain cords or baby monitor cords.
Check that children are always restrained by safety straps around the waist and between the legs. Most high chairs also have a hard plastic restraint between the legs. Straps and restraints can prevent children from climbing out of high chairs or slipping between high chair trays and seats, risking head entrapment.
If left unattended, a child can easily fall off a changing table. To prevent falls, injury of strangulation, always use a safety strap if one is provided and keep on hand on a child at all times when using a changing table.
Look for safe surfacing on outdoor playgrounds – at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, shredded rubber or mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials are good shock-absorbing materials. In addition, regularly check playground surfacing and equipment to make sure they are well-maintained.
Be sure that safety gates are used to keep children away from potentially dangerous areas, especially stairs.
Window covering cords
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that approximately once a month a young child dies from a window cord strangulation. For this reason it is very important to examine all shades and blinds for exposed cords on the front and back sides of the product. Be sure that tasseled pull cords are as short as possible and all dangling cords are eliminated. If at all possible, use only non-corded window coverings in homes where infants and young children are present.
If you cannot afford new, cordless window coverings, the Window Covering Safety Council offers a detailed guide for retrofitting older corded window coverings as well as a free retrofitting kit which can be ordered by contacting:
Window Covering Safety Council
To prevent strangulation be sure that there are no drawstrings around the hood and neck of children's outerwear clothing. Other clothing fasteners – like snaps, zippers, or hook and loop fasteners (such as Velcro) – should be used.
Check that no recalled products are being used in your home or child care center. Recalled products have caused burns, broken bones, strangulations, and electrocutions. Keep a current list of recalled children's products readily visible or available. Check highchairs, baby walkers, infant swings and other children's products to see if they have been recalled. You can check for recalled products by visiting
For more information
Contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for more child care safety tips, product safety and recall information:
www.cpsc.gov or (800) 638-2772
To find out more about all products recalled by the federal government, visit: www.recalls.gov
You may sign up to receive a monthly e-mailed newsletter entitled "Keep Your Kids Safe" on the Product Safety portion of the DATCP website. This newsletter is a monthly summary of children's products that have been recalled by the CPSC.