Life is tenacious, but babies are fragile

When it comes to our babies and buying for them, safety is absolutely paramount. Convenience and ease of use come next. And last of all, fashion and styling. Choosing the right products for your baby starts well before the baby arrives. You don’t want to be running about trying to set up a nursery after Junior arrives.

As the market for baby products continues to expand, it is necessary for us, as responsible parents, to keep ourselves informed. Regardless of what you are buying – whether its a car-seat, a crib or a stroller or even just talcum, it is important to ensure that the product is certified safe. While following certain guidelines is not a guarantee of safety, it can go a long way in mitigating the risk.

In this article, we give you a handy check-list that you can refer to as you go shopping in preparation for your baby’s arrival and after.

  • Keep track of Safety Standards and Recalls
    In the US, there are several regulatory bodies, both governmental and non-governmental, that set safety standards for many products. Make sure that you buy products that are certified by these authorities. Check for CPSC, ASTM or JPMA certifications – depending on what you are buying. This is especially true of products bought second hand or hand-me-downs.

  • Read the literature supplied by the manufacturer
    Always read all of the literature that is supplied by your manufacturer – user manuals, warranties and policies. In most cases, you will find that whatever you need to know about the safety of the item you are buying is already in the literature. If you find that it is not, don’t hesitate to reach out to either your retailer or the manufacturer who maybe able to address your concerns.

  • Buy the latest
    As more accurate research data becomes available, it is only natural for safety standards to change (for the better) to reflect the new knowledge. Design and technology continue to become more and more sophisticated. While there is nothing wrong in buying an older model (or a second-hand one), quite often, newer models of baby products have safety features that are not available in the older ones.

  • Choose the right product
    Choosing a product that is appropriate for your baby is important. Your baby’s age, size and weight and your own needs are important criteria. The product you choose should be age/weight appropriate. Once you have ascertained this, make sure that the product is installed correctly. This is especially true for travel systems (car seats) where the potential for accidents is higher than it is inside a home. Every type of item comes with its own set of safety criteria. Be sure to study and examine the product thoroughly before purchasing. Once you have made your purchase, be sure to read any and all warnings and directions on the packaging.

  • Toxicity
    Babies are tactile. They like to touch, smell and taste. So ensure that the products and toys you buy are certified non-toxic and that they are not choking hazards. Keep all items, even if remotely risky, well out of reach of your little one’s eager and curious little hands.

  • Baby-proofing
    Baby-proofing your home and especially the nursery is something that you cannot skip. Baby-proofing items include those that prevent objects from being inserted into power or data outlets, prevent doors of dressers and drawers from opening and help anchor furniture to the floor or walls. Many professional services to help you baby-proof your home and nursery are available as are baby-proofing kits. Never, ever compromise on this!

  • Go natural
    Today, there is a wide range of organic baby products available to help minimise risk of allergies and toxicity through pesticides and preservatives. Many organic, natural products do not contain petroleum bases (petroleum jelly, mineral oil, etc.). Some examples of available natural/organic products are: organic cotton mattresses, diapers, clothing, sea-grass, reed or wicker furniture accessories, body products made or shea or cocoa butter and so on.

We cannot stress this enough: While it is of utmost importance that you keep yourself educated and informed, it is equally important to remember that all you read need not be accurate and sometimes, not even true. So consult your baby’s physician before making purchases – especially those that will be ingested or applied your baby’s body.

As a parent, keeping your baby safe, healthy and happy is your responsibility and yours alone. Stay informed and stay on top!