Congratulations! This is an exciting time, and sometimes an anxious time. After all, you’re responsible for this little human who depends on you for their health and safety. One of the best ways to prepare for the days, weeks, and years ahead, is to be aware of the risks your newborn faces, and what actions you can take to help keep your baby safe.
At this stage of development
From birth to 6 months your newborn will have a weak neck and a heavy head, which will need to be supported at all times. At around 2 months old, your baby will begin to wiggle and push against things with his or her feet, and at about 4 months old they may start rolling over and reaching and grabbing for things nearby. At this age, your baby’s skin is very thin, so it's more easily burned by hot water, hot food or liquids, and even by the sun’s rays.
Top safety concerns for your newborn
- Falling from beds, couches, and change tables
- Choking on liquids or small pieces
- Suffocating in unsafe sleep conditions
- Being burned by hot bath water or spilled hot liquids
- Being hurt in a car crash
- Drowning (even in a tub with very little water)
Safety at home
- Have everything you need by your side before you start bath time.
- Check bath water with the inside of your forearm to make sure it is not too hot for your newborn.
- Keep one hand on your newborn at all times during bath time.
- Put your newborn to sleep in an empty crib or bassinet with no bumper pads, heavy blankets, or stuffed animals.
- Remove bibs and clothing with cords and strings before putting your newborn to sleep.
- Keep one hand on your newborn when using a change table, use the change table strap, or change your baby on the floor.
- Place baby seats and play equipment on the floor to prevent falls.
- Babies should not be left alone on couches, chairs, or beds because they could fall.
- Use covered mugs when drinking hot liquids, even in the house.
- Add your local poison control numbers to your phone contact list: in NS and PEI call 1-800-565-8161, in NB call 811 or 911, and in NL call 1-844-POISONX.
Safety on the road
- Drive slowly, cautiously, and with complete and total awareness of your surroundings.
- Always use a rear-facing car seat on every ride in a car, truck, or van, even when travelling in a taxi.
- Read your car seat instructions to learn how to change the angle of your car seat.
- Install the seat securely. Tug firmly where the belt attaches to the car; it should move less than one inch (2.5 cm).
- Buckle all parts of the harness and tighten it until it fits snugly.
- Dress your newborn in light layers and add blankets over top, after your baby is safely buckled.
- Take your newborn out of the car seat once you arrive—car seats are not a safe place for a newborn to sleep.
Car seats save lives and protect babies from injury in a car crash.
Safety at play
- Use teething toys and gentle gum massages instead of teething jewellery.
- Baby walkers with wheels are illegal in Canada—instead, babies who can hold their head up can use a play centre like an “exersaucer” that stays in one place on the floor.
- Follow age recommendations on toys and other baby products.
- Help your baby learn and grow by enjoying playtime together.
- Choose larger toys without sharp edges, magnets, or batteries.
- Choose toys that are larger than the opening of a toilet paper roll.
- Remove toys from the crib before putting your baby down to sleep.
- Remove mobiles as soon as your baby can sit or pull themselves up in the crib.