Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Injury is a major cause of death and disability among children and the home is one of the most common places for children’s injuries to occur. As you care for your baby and watch her grow, keep alert to all the ways children can unintentionally hurt themselves. The most common injuries are falls, drowning (and immersions), burns and scalds, and poisonings.

Most accidents can be predicted and prevented.

The aim is not to wrap children up in cotton wool – after all, exploring, taking risks and trying new things are all crucial parts of children’s development. It is, however, important to try and reduce the number and severity of injuries in kids.

  • Never leave your baby alone on change tables, highchairs, beds, tables, chairs or any other high furniture.
  • Hold your baby when feeding with them a bottle, rather than propping them up. Babies can vomit or inhale milk.
  • Do not heat your baby’s bottle in a microwave oven. The milk can heat unevenly and you risk scalding your baby’s mouth.
  • Food can be inhaled easily when starting solids. Do not offer your baby small hard foods like pieces of apple or carrot, popcorn or nuts.
  • Never handle hot food or drinks, like tea, coffee or noodles, while holding your baby. Burns from hot water and drinks can cause severe scarring to children.
  • Keep your baby out of direct sunlight. Use sun protection gear, including sunscreen, clothing and a hat.
  • Toys must be safe, durable and washable. Remember that if a toy is furry, babies can suck on the fur and swallow it. The same goes for the stuffing inside.
  • Toys should not have dangling ribbons, long strings or elastic / small, loose parts that can be pulled or chewed off / squeakers that can be removed / sharp edges.
  • Always check the temperature of the water with your elbow or wrist before putting your baby in the bath.
  • Never leave your baby alone during bath time – not even for a minute.
  • Babies should never be left in the care of older children, no matter how reliable they seem.
  • Always strap your baby in securely when in a bouncer, stroller or high chair.
  • Make sure your baby is never left unsupervised near any family pets.
  • Baby will want to put everything in her mouth. Check that there are no objects within reach and small enough to swallow where your child is playing. These can cause choking and/or serious internal damage.
  • Lock away all cleaning and garden materials. Never pour chemicals into another container (especially food or drink bottles).
  • Never smoke near your baby, and keep cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and cigarette butts out of reach of children. Cigarettes and butts are poisonous to children.
  • Cover plug points with safety covers to prevent electrocution.
  • Fit childproof catches to all low cupboards.
  • It only takes 5cm of water and 2 minutes for a child to drown, so check your home and garden for drowning hazards. If you have a pool, ensure it is covered with a net and/or fenced AND MAKE SURE THE GATE IS CLOSED/NET IS ON.
  • Use safety barriers for steps, stairs and rooms you do not want your child to enter, and keep them away from fireplaces, swimming pools, and heaters.
  • Keep kettle and iron cords out of reach. Always turn pan handles to the back of the stove. Do not leave hot drinks or noodles unattended or within reach.
  • Every outside play area should be fenced off from the road, neighbours’ pets and all water sources.
  • Every time your baby travels in a car, they must be in an approved baby car seat or child booster seat.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a car, not even for a few minutes.
  • Always check where your baby is before reversing your car.
  • Always make sure your baby is strapped in securely when they are in a stroller or pram to prevent falls and always stay with them.
  • Never leave your baby alone at other people’s homes, especially where young children do not normally live. Medication and other dangerous objects/substances may be stored within reach.
  • Be aware of the many hazards, including poisonous or irritating plants, mushrooms, unfenced water and sharp objects when your child is playing in the garden.
To reduce the risk of suffocation and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome):
  • Put baby to sleep on her back or her side from birth – never on her tummy. A foam wedge behind her back can help keep her on her side (but remember to vary the side she sleeps on).
  • Do not cover your baby’s face and head.
  • Do not expose babies to tobacco smoke before and after birth.
  • Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day (see Preparing the nursery).
  • Some mothers use a baby monitor with a breathing sensor if they sleep in a different room.
  • Do not leave your baby unsupervised if she falls asleep in a bouncer, pram or stroller.