Copyright 2006 Scott Corbett
If you’re looking for a creative and different way to honor new moms- and dads-to-be and help them get ready for their baby, consider throwing a baby safety shower instead of the usual “blankets and snugglies” shower.
Traditional baby showers are great fun and they offer new parents an opportunity to prepare their “nests” for the arrival of a new baby. Usually a baby shower is intended to give new parents a leg up in acquiring essential items like baby clothing, bath supplies, bottles or nursing equipment, toys and games, and special blankets or other treasures like silver cups. I’ve always viewed baby showers as one of the best ways that a community can come together around the birth of a new child. It reminds me of one of the best aspects of the “old days” when a town, village, or neighborhood considered the birth and caring for a new child its responsibility, too.
A baby safety shower is in keeping with these old communitarian traditions. It’s more than just fun and games, it’s really a learning experience for the whole community where all the activities revolve around baby and home safety. Parents and caregivers certainly have a great time, but they also leave with a higher awareness of ways to keep their new babies safe at home.
The shower’s theme may focus on a variety of safety issues (see the Baby Safety Checklist below), including child-proofing one’s home, nutrition or health. Also, you can arrange a baby safety shower for as many people as you can fit in your party space. At bigger safety showers, all of the moms and dads in attendance–not just the couple being honored–can visit a variety of exhibits where safety-savvy parents illustrate home safety information with games, puzzles, songs, prizes, and other activities. At smaller showers, it might work better to have one person lead the group in discussions and safety games.
Usually baby showers involve a collection of family and friends of the new parents, but safety showers are also a good way to create and promote partnerships within the broader community. By offering, for example, to distribute baby products donated by local stores, or by providing information from local community health service providers, you can enhance your ties with the local business community and build your relationships with local health and social service organizations. All this creates goodwill in your community and it provides your invited parents with welcome information, products, and services.
Use your creativity to create a baby safety shower for your personal situation. The key to throwing a safety shower that will be rewarding for all involved is providing important safety information in a festive and inviting setting. So–have fun, and learn about the all-important matter of better safety practices for your household.
BABY SAFETY CHECKLIST
The guidelines below were developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It’s important to remember that, while these standards are based on sound principles, certain parents may disagree with some of them. For example, the bedroom guidelines state that a baby should never sleep in the same bed as an adult. However, from the Attachment Parenting perspective, sleeping with one’s baby is considered an important aspect of bonding and is even believed to possibly lower the incidence of SIDS. Therefore, I recommend using the following guidelines as just that, guidelines, which should be examined carefully in light of your own views and beliefs about baby care giving. Always consult your pediatrician if in doubt of the best way to proceed.
Baby Safety Checklist
In the bedroom:
Put your baby to sleep on her back in a crib with a firm, flat mattress and no soft bedding underneath her. Follow this advice to reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). To prevent suffocation, never put babies to sleep on adult beds.
Make sure your baby’s crib is sturdy and has no loose or missing hardware. This will prevent babies suffocating or strangling by becoming trapped between broken crib parts.
Never place your baby’s crib or furniture near window blind or curtain cords. This will prevent babies from strangling on the loop of the cord. To prevent falls, keep children away from windows.
In the bathroom:
Keep medicines and cleaning products in containers with safety caps and locked away from children. This will prevent children from being poisoned.
Always check bath water temperature with your wrist or elbow before putting your baby in to bathe. This will prevent burns to a baby’s delicate skin.
Never, ever, leave your child alone in the bathtub or near any water. This will prevent children from drowning. In addition, keep children away from all standing water, including water in toilets, 5-gallon buckets, and pools.
In the kitchen:
Don’t leave your baby alone in a highchair; always use all safety straps. This will prevent injuries and deaths from the baby climbing out, falling, or sliding under the tray. Be sure to use safety straps in strollers and baby swings.
Use your stove’s back burners and keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove. This will prevent deaths and injuries from burns. In addition, keep children away from tablecloths, so they can’t pull down hot foods or liquids on themselves.
Lock household cleaning products, knives, matches, and plastic bags away from children. This will prevent poisonings, bleeding injuries, burns, and suffocation.
In other living areas:
Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas; change the batteries each year. This will prevent deaths and injuries from fires.
Use safety gates to block stairways and safety plugs to cover electrical outlets. This will prevent injuries from falls and electric shocks.
Keep all small objects, including tiny toys and balloons, away from young children. This will prevent choking and possible death.
Additional Information and Resources
If you would like more information about baby safety or about how to organize a baby safety shower, including specific tips on planning, organizing, and coordinating one, please write to the Office of Information and Public Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207. The article above was adapted from a report prepared by the Product Safety Commission.