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Baby Proofing & Carseat Tips

Parent Tips > Health Care & Wellness > Baby Proofing & Carseat Tips

Car Seat Safety Testing Resource

California Highway Patrol-Santa Cruz
10395 Soquel Drive
Aptos, CA 95003
Phone: 831-662-0511  
John Stow

Safe Sleep for all Babies

Submitted By: Nancy Diehl, PHN SIDS Coordinator

Safe Sleep for all Babies ~ October is National Infant Mortality and SIDS Awareness Month


I am the Santa Cruz County SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Coordinator and every October I look forward to keeping our community up to date about how to reduce the risk of SIDS and how every baby can sleep safely.

I am happy to share that this past fiscal year (7/10- 6/11), we had no baby die from SIDS in Santa Cruz County. Though our county has not experienced a SIDS death, rates of SIDS deaths continue to increase in California. In 2008, 201 babies died from SIDS, a 12.7% increase from 2007 when 183 babies died from SIDS, so the work of getting the safe sleep message out to all new parents is not finished. The focus of our work, like that of the state's SIDS program needs to embrace the work of those in the infant mortality community and reduce the risk of all preventable infant deaths, not just those from SIDS, but from suffocation and strangulation as well. Every baby sleeping safely continues to be the goal all of us need to embrace.


To support achieving the goal of every baby in Santa Cruz County having a safe sleep environment, I'd like to share information about a new law regarding crib safety. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has enacted new standards for cribs, banning drop side cribs from sale, as of June 2011. It is now illegal to sell a drop side crib. Also, by December 28, 2012, all licensed child care homes, hotels and crib rental companies will have to comply with this law. More information can be found at
Safe sleep recommendations continue to strongly advise parents to avoid the use of all "after-market" products including positioners and firm or soft bumpers as both place the baby at risk of suffocation.


To ensure safe sleep for all babies, professionals remain in agreement that parents should follow the American Academy of Pediatrics reduce the risk recommendations:
1. Always place a baby on his or her Back to Sleep, for every nap and at night.
2. Place a baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet.
3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of a baby's sleep area.
4. Do not allow smoking around a baby or a pregnant woman.
5. Keep the baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep.
6. Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing an infant down to sleep. Do not force the baby to take it. When a baby breastfeeds, wait until he or she is one month old or until after breastfeeding has been established to use a pacifier.
7. Do not let a baby overheat during sleep.
8. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS including infant positions.
9. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
10. Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on a baby's head by placing a baby on their tummy when he/she is awake and someone is watching.


If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact me at 831-454-4331. All babies deserve to sleep safely every time they sleep.

Installing Seats

Get a car seat check at one of the Counties Fire Stations or with the local CHP.



10395 Soquel Dr.
Aptos 95003-4937

Some car dealerships check seats. Call 800-700-0001 for more information on safety belts, child restraints and air bags.

Children must be properly secured in a safety seat or booster until they are at least 6 years old or 60 pounds. Many children need a booster until the age of 8. Seat belts dont fit properly until children weigh about 80 pounds and are 57" (4'9").

Children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat.


Child safety seat tips:


  • The best place for a child is in the back seat.
  • Babies ride rear-facing and reclined (45-degree angle) until 1 year old and at least 20 pounds. 
  • Toddlers ride forward-facing and upright with a harness until 40 pounds. 
  • Children who are over 40 pounds or have outgrown the harness system use a lap and shoulder belt-positioning booster seat.

When you choose a safety seat or booster seat select a seat that fits your child. One type does not fit all. Be sure the seat fits in your vehicle and choose a seat that is easy to install correctly.



Leaving Kids in Car

Kaitlyns Law: It is against the law for any parent, legal guardian or other person responsible for a child of 6 years of age or younger, to leave that child unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age or older.

Baby Proofing Suggestions

Hanging cords from answering machines, telephones, lamps, blinds, and appliances are a strangulation hazard and should be kept out of reach of your child.

Fingerguards for doors are great - they save kids fingers from being caught in the door - they also help with door slamming or a child getting locked into a room. They can be taken on and off in seconds.

Cover all used or unused electric outlets that are accessible.

Never leave a child unattended on a changing table.

Do not use tacks or staples to secure electrical cords to walls.

Unstable or large furniture and lamps should be removed, mounted to the wall or blocked off so that your child cannot tip them.

Remove table with glass tops or inserts until children are older.

Keep VCR's out of reach of babies and young children. Keep a tape in the VCR to prevent little hands from getting inside. There are Lucite guards you can purchase to block the opening.

Pet doors should be blocked off so your baby does not go through them.

Tablecloths can be pulled down and everything on top can fall onto your child.

Garages are not safe for children. Try to keep them out of them.

Have all emergency numbers posted by the telephone for babysitters and any other caretakers. Have child’s birthdate and other important info available as well. Teach your child 911, their home area code, phone number, address and your work number.

If possible, teach them a few phone numbers (close friend, neighbor or relative)

Knives, tools, pencils and other sharp objects (this includes boxes with serrated edges like plastic wraps) should be locked away or out of reach.

Wrap used razor blades/sharp objects in paper towel before disposing of them.

Keep plastic bags out of children's reach.

Keep walkways and stairwells clear of objects, cords or rugs that could cause tripping.

No containers of water should be left accessible to young children (this includes the potty; all toilets should be equipped with a potty lock).

Remove two piece door stopper. The white piece on the tip can pose a potential choking hazard.

Keep bedroom doors closed while sleeping.

If children sleep in another room, use a monitor to listen for them.

If you have a garbage disposal, use a switch blocker to prevent a child from turning it on.

Keep wastebaskets covered with childproof lids or put them out of reach.

Use safety gates to keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.

Do not use the microwave to heat baby formula.

Place hot foods in the center of the table to prevent children from pulling them off onto themselves.

Never carry your child and hot items at the same time.

When cooking, all pot handles should be turned in so your baby does not reach up and pull them. If possible, use back burners.

Keep small objects like coins, small doll shoes, marbles and paper clips picked up and out of sight. You can purchase a tubular object that allows you to see whether or not an item is small enough to be chokeable.

Never give a balloon to a child under three. There have been numerous cases of children choking on balloons.

Before bathing your baby, gather all the items you will need and place them within your reach so you are not tempted to leave the child and retrieve something. If you forget something, take your child with you to get it, even if he/she is dripping wet. NEVER LEAVE A BABY UNATTENDED DURING BATH TIME. Always check the water temperature prior to setting the child in the tub.

Never leave your child alone in wading or swimming pool, pail of water, toilet of any other body of water.

Wall hangings should never be put over the crib. If your child pulls it down, nails or glass could fall into the crib.

Mobiles should be removed when your child is 5-7 months. Do not hang toys in the crib. Babies can get tangled.

Cribs should have no knobs or posts that stick up more than a half inch. Babies may catch their clothes on knobs and choke.

Try not to use older cribs that have been repainted. Many of the older paints contained lead, which can cause serious nerve and brain damage. The paint on these items can be tested with a lead test kit.

Locate the crib away from windows. Breaking glass and hanging cords from window dressings are dangerous to infants.

Keep cribs away from electric outlets. Even if outlets are covered.

Check often for loose nuts and bolts on cribs.

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