Clearly, if you’re considering the purchase of a baby monitor it’s because you’re concerned about the safety and security of your child. But I would imagine that for many of us, the question of whether or not the actual baby monitor itself is safe is something that might not come to mind. And yet, it should. So with that in mind, we’d like to share some tips with you about the safe use of a baby monitor. We all want to do all we can to prevent any sort of injury to a child.
Think of all the ways we try to keep our children safe. And not just from the outside world, we try to keep them safe within our own homes as well. We do things like install baby gates, we cover up electrical outlets, we don’t give them toys that have small parts which can choke them, and we use a baby monitor so that we can hear and respond should the need arise.
Yet even though the purpose of the baby monitor is to ensure the safety of our child, they can be dangerous if they’re used improperly. Tragically, since the year 2002, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported the following: seven fatalities and three near suffocations from the electrical cords of baby monitors. Babies are curious. And they love to put things in their mouth. So if you place the baby monitor too close to the crib, that’s an invitation for disaster. If they begin to play with the unit itself or play with the cord, they could even accidentally drop the cord around their neck.
How to Properly Position a Baby Monitor
You’ve likely guessed this from the last paragraph, but the most important thing you can do when installing the transmitter of your baby monitor, is to make sure that it is at least 3 feet away from any part of the baby’s crib. And not just their crib — anywhere you might leave them — in their bassinets, in a play yard, even if you’ve laid them on the bed and stacked pillows around them. So again, place the monitor at least 3 feet away from where ever they are. And then take it even a step further and make sure the cords are tucked in, and out of sight. And this should be obvious, but it does bear mentioning, it’s not just the unit itself that needs to be far enough away from the baby. If the monitor itself is several feet away, but is plugged into an outlet that is within reaching distance, this is unacceptable.
Since your baby will grow, and their reach will change, you need to constantly re-evaluate where your baby monitor is placed. What may have been safe at six months of age may no longer be safe at one years of age.
There’s a great website called BabyMonitorSafety.org that was created by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. It provides lots of information about baby monitor safety, whether in the nursery itself or anywhere around home. It also details how to coordinate a safe and sound zone for your baby. Even things like home and nursery planning. There’s a selection of videos with a variety of safety tips, and you can even request warning labels that can be permanently affixed to the baby monitors electric cord. This label details and warns about the risks of strangulation.
General Safety Tips
While we’re on the topic of safety, I may as well take a few moments and discuss some other safety tips as well.
As mentioned earlier, what was safe for your baby when they were six months of age may no longer be safe when they’re older. So as they reach different milestones — when they can roll over, when they can crawl, when they can walk and so forth — do a safety check again.
Do you often lay them on a blanket on the floor? If they are now able to roll over, get down on your stomach yourself and see what they see. Often times we might miss things when we’re sitting or standing up. If they’re able to sit up now, now is the time to lower the crib mattress. And if they’re now in full locomotion, it’s a little bit more difficult to keep their environment safe, but it can be done.
Earlier we mentioned putting covers over electrical outlets. You can also make sure that the cords to your window blinds are safely out of reach, and you can add covers to your door knobs. Since kids love to open up cupboards and explore inside, make sure any kinds of detergents or household cleaners are out of reach, and do the same with any medication. And like we suggested above, it might be a good idea to either get down on your stomach, or get down on your hands and knees, and see the world from their perspective. You’ll likely see some dangers that you might otherwise have missed.