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Even though babies are small and seem uncomplicated, there's nothing small or simple about their accessories! Selecting products for your baby can be confusing, especially with all the new gadgets and features available (not to mention the many product recalls).
But one overriding consideration must never be compromised when choosing baby products, whether you're buying, borrowing, or accepting a hand-me-down: your little one's safety.
Baby bathtubs give parents a safe way to wash a wet, slippery baby. The angle of the tub helps free a parent's hands for washing.
Things to keep in mind when choosing an infant bathtub:
Babies love and need close contact, and infant carriers are ideal for nestling them against their parents. Most injuries that happen with these carriers are from falls. The two types of carriers are soft, pouch-like ones for young babies, and structured frame carriers for older babies.
What to look for:
Generally, you can choose from three kinds of changing tables:
Hinged chest adapters are not recommended — dressers with these adapters have toppled over when a baby's weight was placed close to the outer edge.
Babies can get hurt if they fall off changing tables, so they should always be watched closely.
When you choose a crib, check it carefully to make sure that your baby's sleep space is safe.
Gates placed at the top of stairs or in doorways are used to keep toddlers away from hazardous areas of the home. Gates are meant to be used for children between 6 months and 2 years of age.
Before you look for a gate, measure the doorway or top of the stairs so you buy a gate that is wide enough to block the space.
If you're borrowing a gate, don't accept an old accordion-type gate. They're not safe because of the diamond-shaped openings with wide Vs at the top. These can trap a baby's head and cause choking.
Infant seats should not be confused with infant or child safety seats (car seats). Regular infant seats simply allow young babies to sit up. They're not designed to protect a baby in a car crash and should never be used to transport infants. Some child safety seats, however, can double as infant seats.
More children are seriously injured or killed in auto accidents than in any other type of accident. Using a child safety seat is the best protection you can give a child when traveling by car.
Never substitute any type of infant seat for a child safety seat. Only child safety seats — properly installed in the back seat — are designed to protect a child from injury during a collision.
Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they're 2 years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
When kids are ready to transition to a forward-facing seat, they should be harnessed in until they reach the maximum weight or height for that seat. When they have outgrown their forward-facing harnessed seat, they need to be placed in a booster seat. Kids should use a booster seat until the car's lap-and-shoulder belt fits properly, which is typically when they've reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years old.
For more information on proper installation of child safety seats and how to harness your child, read our article on auto safety. You also can call the Department of Transportation Auto Safety Hotline — (888) DASH-2-DOT — if you have questions.
These high-sided, enclosed play areas are popular because parents can put their baby in one knowing that their little one can't wander off. But playpens are no substitute for adult supervision — never leave a child unattended in a playpen.
Strollers come in a variety of sizes and styles. When you're searching for that perfect stroller that's light and portable, keep safety in mind too.
All toys you select for your baby or toddler should meet safety standards. The tips below can help you find safe toys for your little one. At home, check them often for loose or broken parts.
Check to see if a toy has been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on their recall page. You also can sign up to get news about the most up-to-date toy recalls.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2018 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by Cook Children's, The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.