The Doctors provide life-saving tips to keep your children safe at all times.
For the best environment for your infant, pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains his dos and don’ts of crib safety.
• Have your baby sleep on his or her back.
• Keep the crib as bare as possible.
• Do not overheat the baby with extra blankets.
• Keep a smoke-free environment.
• Put a fan in the room. This can reduce the risk of SIDS by 70 percent.
• Put the crib in the parents’ bedroom.
• Breastfeeding may lower the risk of SIDS.
• Don’t overstuff the crib with full bedding, extra pillows or bumper pads. If you need to use a bumper pad, opt for a flat one.
• Don’t use sleep wedges, unless your doctor recommends it.
• Don’t leave stuffed animals in the crib.
• Don’t keep the baby dressed in a skullcap.
• Don’t use loose sheets and blankets. Use one tightly fitted sheet around the mattress and keep the baby in a sleep sack with a closed bottom and arm openings.
• For steps to prevent SIDS, check out Dr. Sears' blog!
Popular drop-side cribs are being recalled from stores. Learn the dangers of the cribs, and why you should avoid purchasing them online or at garage sales.
Parenting TipsDr. Jim offers essential tips to new parents. Learn how to keep your newborn safe!Four S's
Learn the deadly mistakes new parents make and tips to keep your baby safe.
Home SafetyPediatrician Dr. Jim Sears offers safety tips to new homeowners and expecting parents, Haley and Jordan.pays a house call
explains the correct way
Home Health Hazards
Could your home be putting your health at risk? Watch as Dr. Jim counts down the top 10 home health hazards!
Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon and pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears review potential hazards in your home and give prevention tips.
Childproof Your HomeIf you have young children, you make every effort to keep them out of harm's way. Home improvement guru, safety expert and host of HGTV's Over Your Head, Eric Stromer, demonstrates simple ways to childproof your home.
"Pregnant women, they talk about all these classes that they need to take, but this is one of the things they forget about doing, is childproofing their home," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "Get it done early, before you need to think about it."
More safety tips.
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are common over-the-counter pain relievers, but do you know which to use for your ailments? While they all offer benefits, the medications also come with potential risks.
Naproxen and ibuprofen have been shown to help alleviate menstrual cramps. If you do have cramps, avoid taking aspirin because it can cause bleeding. Dr. Jim advises parents to never give aspirin or naproxen to children.
Giving Kids Medicine• Don't give medications in a beverage or food, unless the doctor or pharmacist says it's OK. Your child may not receive the proper dose if he or she does not finish all the food or beverage, and ingesting the medicine in this form may alter its effect.
• Never use a standard kitchen spoon to measure medicine, because it may be inaccurate. Use a syringe or an official medicine cup with measurements on it.
• Before you leave the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist to show you what the exact dose should be.
• If your children do not like the taste of a medicine, as the pharmacist about other flavor options or inquire about chewable tablets.
• Write down the doctor's instructions so the pharmacist is aware.
• Read the directions on the medications, and ask the pharmacist if you have any questions.
Medicine Storage• Store medicine in a cool, dry area, such as the kitchen, bedroom or your office.• Don't store medicine in the bathroom, because the humidity and change of temperature from the shower can decrease the effectiveness of the medication.
• Keep medicines in a high place, out of reach of children. Make sure grandparents and other relatives do the same, so visiting children can't get to them.
Vapor Rub for Kids?
“There are right ways and wrong ways to use this,” Dr. Jim says. “There’s a study that found, at least in animals, it can actually constrict the airways and maybe increase mucus production, even though you feel more open. It was a really small study. They’re looking at it a little further.
“But for now, follow the instructions,” he continues. “Don’t use it under age 2 and keep it away from the nose. That’s where most of the problems have been. If it’s under the nose, it can really get into the airways and irritate. It’s a chest rub.”
Vitamin SafetyAre vitamins safe for children?
"Before age 1, most kids get what they need from formula or breast milk, but after that, especially if they're picky eaters, a multivitamin is a great safety net to fill in the gaps," Dr. Sears says. "I would get the multivitamin that has no artificial coloring or artificial flavors and is naturally sweetened. And don't call it candy, otherwise they might overdose."
HomeopathyAre homeopathic remediessafe for children?
Poison Control Hotline
If you have questions or concerns, or if you're not sure about a possible danger, contact the Poison Control Hotline, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-222-1222.
"The reason it's so important for all parents to be CPR trained is because minutes count," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "Within four minutes [without oxygen], a baby's brain can start to have permanent damage. Those seconds count."
Choking HazardsMany of your kids' favorite foods can be choking hazards. Learn how to keep your children safe while snacking.
To perform the Heimlich Maneuver, stand behind the choking victim, wrap your arms around them, clench your hands together to create a balled fist, and then place your hands between their bellybutton and ribcage. Finally, pull and thrust inward and upward to push the air out of the lungs.
Dr. Sears cautions that the Heimlich maneuver can actually harm a baby’s liver or spleen, so if an infant is under the age of one and choking, do back blows instead.
Dr. Jim demonstrates the correct way to perform CPR on a baby.
Nearly 4,600 people die each year from choking. But what happens if you are the one choking and you are alone? Get the information you need to save your life or someone else's.
Learn how to use a chair to save your own life if
how to perform
child's risk of choking
Founder of safetymom.com, Alison Rhodes, says that choking on small objects is the leading cause of accidents and deaths related to children’s toys. “Rule of thumb: if it fits through a toilet paper roll, it’s dangerous. Keep it away.”
She suggests that parents sign up with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to receive timely e-mail alerts for toy recalls and other important safety information.
First Aid Kits
A well-stocked first-aid kit is a household necessity. Be prepared for emergencies: whether the kit is in your car, cubicle, or kitchen, make sure it’s easily accessible and adequately stocked.
Some kits are designed for specific activities such as hiking, camping or boating. A variety of first-aid kits -- from individual to family size -- are available for sale at the American Red Cross store. Whether you buy a kit or assemble one yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need.
• Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
• Check the kit regularly.
• Make sure any flashlight batteries work. • Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
Learn the essentials for every first-aid kit.
Safety Tips When Flying
Seatbelt safety for kids.
Hand sanitizer is also a great tool to bring with you to kill germs. When flying, you can also use it to clean the armrests and tray tables.
Bike SafetyDr. Jim Sears says that kids who have the coordination to throw and catch a ball, or hop on one foot, probably have the coordination to ride a bike without training wheels.
“There are two ways to do it,” he explains. “You can either raise up the training wheels, or lower the seat, take the pedals off for a little while, and let the kids push [the bikes] along and learn to balance that way.”
Make sure the child’s helmet fits correctly. The brow of the helmet should sit two adult finger-widths above the eyebrows, and the chin strap should be able to fit one adult finger. Make sure the bike is outfitted with reflectors and lights on both the bike and wheels.
You send your children to play outside all summer long, but backyard dangers exist. The Accidental Housewife, Julie Edelman, takes a trip to a typical backyard and points out potential hazards. See what she found!
Kiddie Pool Cleanliness
Clean with baking soda or a little bit of bleach once a day or two times per week. Cover the pool each night to keep dirt and debris out of the water, and skim the surface with a net once a day.
Sandbox Health Risks
• Fill your sandbox with playground sand, not builder’s sand
• Always keep a sandbox covered
• Turn the sand — sift for rocks, glass, spiders, twigs, etc.
• Replace the sand if an animal uses it as a litter box
• Replace the sand once a year
• Tip: If your kids are going to play in the sand, sprinkle talcum powder on them, as it will help get the sand off of them more easily.
Nearly 156,000 American children are hurt on playgrounds every year. Follow these simple steps to ensure your kids stay safe!
Baby Sling Safety
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears and his sister Hayden, founder of Balboa Baby, demonstrate how to use a baby sling.
Baby Car Seat Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have updated car seat safety guidelines and now recommend that toddlers ride in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. This is one year longer than the original guideline, and is based on United States crash data collected in the last five years. Data has shows that 1-year-olds are five-times less likely to be injured in a car crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat. Children younger than 2 have relatively large heads and small necks, and front-facing car seats allow the force of a crash to jerk the child's head, potentially causing spinal cord injuries.
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrates which car seats to use at what age. If a child is younger than 2 and weighs less than 22 pounds, keep him or her in a rear-facing car seat. On your child's second birthday, or when he or she reaches more than 22 pounds, he or she may ride in a front-facing car seat. Dr. Sears recommends buying a convertible seat that can be turned around once your child reaches the correct age and weight. All children must ride in a booster seat until they are 4-feet, 9-inches tall, which ranges from 8 to 12 years old. If a child is too short to ride without a car seat, he or she is likely to slouch, resting the seat belt over the belly, which could crush the child's organs in an accident. Children under the age of 13 should not sit in the front seat.
On a hot day, a car acts as a solar oven, pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains. See what happens inside a car within minutes. Use alert mechanisms like the Child Minder Smart Pad to signal the child’s presence in the vehicle.
Learn how to correctly install a car seat and get more car seat safety tips .
More on car safety.