Infant Product Safety

The specialists in Cincinnati Children’s Division of Trauma Services offer these guidelines for parents when buying and using products for their infants.
  • Crib safety.Secure and tighten all hardware / pieces.
  • Crib mattress should fit tightly.
  • Do not put pillows in the crib with your baby.
  • To help prevent SIDS, place babies on their back or side on a firm crib mattress.
  • Do not place the crib near a window with drapes or blinds. Your baby could get tangled in the cords and be strangled.
  • Remove all toys and objects from the crib before leaving your infant.
  • Do not put your infant to sleep in a parent’s bed due to suffocation risk.
  • Always use safety belts / straps.
  • Never leave an infant unattended.
  • Never place a carrier seat on soft surfaces − the seat may flip over.
  • Place non-slip feet on carrier if there are none present.
  • A carrier seat should not be used as car / safety seat unless it is specifically labeled as one.
  • Many injuries result from babies falling off changing tables onto the floor. Make sure the table has safety straps and always use them when changing your baby.
  • Never leave your baby unattended on a changing table.
  • Do not hang a pacifier around your child’s neck.  Clip the pacifier to your child’s clothing.
  • Check pacifiers often for tears, holes, rips and small changes in texture. Throw away any pacifier that is damaged.
  • Never leave a child alone in a stroller. He or she could slip and become caught in the leg opening.
  • Make sure the brake is easy to get to and easy to operate.
  • Never use a blanket or pillow as a cushion in a stroller. These objects may create a risk of suffocation.
  • Always secure the seat belt.
  • Check to make sure the seat is snug and comfortable, yet strong and durable.
  • Never allow children to play with or around the stroller. It is not a toy.
  • If you are buying a bassinet or cradle, make sure it has a sturdy, wide base.  Make sure the spaces between the spindles are small.
  • Check screws and bolts to make sure they are tight.
  • Never use pillows for padding. Use a firm mattress pad that fits smooth and snug.
  • If you have a swinging cradle, make sure there is a way to manually stop the swing once the baby is asleep.
  • Follow the manufacturer guidelines to make sure the cradle is OK to use based on your baby’s height and weight.

Baby gates help prevent children from falling down stairs and keep them away from open, unsafe areas. However, the gates themselves can be dangerous.

It is important to keep these safety tips in mind when looking at baby gates:

  • Do not use accordion-style expandable enclosures with V-shaped or diamond openings. Babies can get their heads trapped between one of the wide openings if they try to crawl through or over the gates.
  • Choose a gate with straight top edges and small holes or openings. 

High chair safety.To prevent accidents:

  • Make sure to use restraining straps provided with the chair.  Straps should be snug.
  • Do not let your child stand up in a high chair.
  • Keep children from running around or leaning on the high chair to prevent the chair from falling over.
  • Do not leave your child unattended while in the high chair.

Deaths have occurred mostly when the sides of the Pack ’n Play have been left in the open position and have closed in and collapsed on the child. To prevent this from happening to your child, you should:

  • Remove all toys and large objects because the child can use these to climb out.
  • Beware of playpens that have rotating latches in the center of the top rails. Those latches can come loose and cause the rails to collapse and the sides to come down on the child.
  • If using any kind of playpen, don’t leave the drop-side down while the child is in the playpen. The child may roll over into the side pocket and suffocate on the mesh side.
  • If you are buying a new Pack ’n Play, make sure the top rails lock automatically in the normal use position. Look for mesh netting with very tiny weave.
  • Do not place any objects on top of or across the Pack ’n Play that could possibly cause strangulation.

The biggest cause of injury or death with toy chests is when the top of the chest falls on the child’s head or neck. Children may also crawl into the chest space to hide or sleep and end up suffocating because of the lack of ventilation. To prevent injuries or deaths:

  • If you already own a toy chest, remove the lid. If you are buying one, look for a chest with a detachable lid. If you cannot do that, purchase a lid support device that holds the chest in its open position, such as a spring-loaded support.
  • Make sure that the lid of the chest does not have a latch.
  • Look for a chest that has holes for ventilation that cannot be blocked by items in the chest.

Last Updated 10/2012