16 Top Tips On How To Keep Your Baby Safe When Strolling
Do you know that it is perfectly healthy to take your baby out for a stroll? There is a certain notion some parents have, more so first-time parents, that taking your baby outdoors exposes them to risk of contracting diseases. The truth of the matter is that the little ones enjoy it just as much as adults do.
In as much as babies love the cool breeze outdoors as you go for those backyard barbeques, playground dates, beach trips, etc., you need to ensure their safety first. Out there on a stroller, your baby’s safety is your responsibility
It can get too hot, cold, windy, or even rainy. At times the stroller that appears harmless most of the time could be a source of danger too. However, if you are safety conscious, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
To ensure your daily stroller trips with your baby go smoothly as planned, these tips on how to keep your baby safe when strolling will come in handy.
Stroller Safety Tips
While modern strollers are made with your baby’s safety in mind, it doesn’t mean it all ends there. Using the devices haphazardly would still expose the baby to injury risks more than ever. Here are some safety tips for your next outdoor strolling adventure with your baby.
1. The baby should always be buckled up
This is probably rule number one of stroller use, no matter the duration or distance you will stroll through. Just like in your car where you always buckle up, ensure that the baby is buckled up preferably with a 5-point safety harness.
The essence of this safety tip is to prevent the baby from toppling over in case the stroller hits an obstacle/pothole/bump. It also keeps explorative/energetic babies from accidentally slipping off the stroller.
Buckling up also ensures the baby is properly seated on the stroller, preventing it from tipping over due to uneven weight distribution.
2. Mind the snapping sounds of collapsible strollers
If you have a stroller that you can open and close after or before use, then you need to have it correctly snap into position before putting your little one(s) on board. Listening out for the snapping sounds first is the only way of being sure that the stroller is in the right structural shape to accommodate a child.
When the stroller is not locked correctly into place, it can easily collapse with your baby on it. Injuries and falls might result in the process.
3. Use brakes when pushing the stroller downhill or parked
A majority of stroller models these days have safety brakes on them. Some, such as jogging strollers have handbrakes installed on them for controlling the stroller’s motion when moving downhill. Always engage these brakes to keep the stroller from spinning out of your hand.
When you park, engage the parking brakes, even if it’s just for a couple of seconds. And if intend to stop on a slopping section of a path, turn the stroller wheels from the slope’s direction. This measure prevents the stroller from moving under gravity in case the brakes fail.
4. The weight limit on the stroller is very important
As I say, a stroller is a ride for the kid and not a hanger for your shopping bags. Every stroller has a maximum specification on the amount of weight it can accommodate before failure. It is not only the amount of weight that matters but also how it is distributed in the stroller. Uneven load on the stroller compromises on stroller balance.
I know as a parent, you have lots of baby care essentials to bring along, but it shouldn’t be in excess. Check the manufacturer specification on the permissible load, in addition to the number of babies and don’t exceed it.
Limit the number of shopping bags you hang on the handlebar if you must. Alternatively, place the extra luggage in the cargo basket under seats. In this way, you keep the stroller’s center of gravity low for proper balancing.
5. Provide proper ventilation in the stroller during hot months
Some items in a stroller may block the natural ventilation mechanisms provided. Mattresses, blankets, baby Snuzzler, are some of the times that increase the risk of suffocation and overheating on a hot day.
Another measure would be to add a stroller fan accessory to cool down the baby. But if it is breezy, super cold, and cool outside, then you don’t have to worry about ventilation. For this, you need to keep the baby as warm as possible.
6. Do not have the baby nearby when folding the stroller
As surprising as it may sound, there is an alarming number of injuries related to stroller folding. If you don’t take extra care, you might pinch or amputate the baby’s fingertips with the stroller hinges as you fold it.
We all know how babies love to fondle around us at times. However, for their own safety, keep them away to prevent them from the massive pain resulting from a stroller hinge finger pinch. If it’s not possible then keep them away from any pinch point.
7. Limit the amount of sunlight exposure
If you are planning to go for a stroll in the day, then do so when the sun is not too strong. American Association of Pediatrics recommends that you limit exposure between 10 am to 4 pm. It is during this time of the day that the heat from the sun is at its extreme.
Infants who are yet to learn how to sweat may overheat in the daytime extremities. If you cannot avoid it, then schedule your walks to be in shaded areas where there is protection from the damaging sun rays. For babies who are not used to hot weather, take baby steps to acclimatize them to such conditions.
8. Avoid covering the stroller with a blanket
You are probably aware of how fast a stroller gets hot when covered with a blanket. Just about any blanket, even if it is made from breathable fabrics. Use the canopy provided on the stroller. In case it does not provide sufficient protection from weather elements, then add canopy extenders.
Having a blanket like-cover over the baby as shade poses suffocation risks and also leads to poor circulation of air. A cover also prevents you from monitoring your baby just in case she is in some kind of distress.
9. Use chemical-free sunscreen products
Here is another safety tip during the hot months such as in summer. In the event that safe shading isn’t available, an option would be to apply a small layer of infant-safe sunscreen. Ensure the product has a sun proof protection factor of between 30 and 50.
Apply this to the exposed parts of the bay such as ears, nose or cheeks. The rule is that you apply this sunscreen for about 30 minutes before setting out into the sun. Afterward, reapply it after every 2 hours, if you would be still out for that long.
10. Perform regular inspection of the stroller
Strollers are just like your car in a lot of aspects. It needs regular servicing since it has lots of moving parts that may become loose or break after a while of usage. Folding mechanisms may become loose or faulty.
Sharp edges might protrude too, posing the risk of injury to the baby. Look for loose wheels, faulty brakes, and just about any part that requires a repair. The last thing you need when having a good time outdoors is one of the wheels falling off.
11. Avoid jogging with an infant
I won’t tire to emphasize on this point. An infant less than 6 months old should not accompany you for a jogging stroll. The best age would be after their first birthday when they have developed stronger neck muscles.
This is the best way of ensuring the baby can handle the shocks and impacts from a bumpy trail as well as constant jostling. Fully reclining seats add extra comfort for slightly younger babies who wouldn’t want to explore the environment around them.
12. No loose toys in the stroller
Before your baby reaches the age where they can sit up or get around on all fours, fasten the toys securely onto the stroller. Do the same for bumpers if you have any. Loose toys can fall on the baby, becoming a choking hazard in the process.
Once the baby is grown up, remove the items if he can reach them. While some toys are great for entertainment, some are more of a health risk than fun.
13. Have your eyes on the baby at all time
I know you might come across friends, fellow moms, colleagues or acquaintances of such likes, but these are no reason to take your eye off the baby. Leaving the baby unattended to even for a minute can be disastrous, more so in extreme weather.
The stroller can also topple or start moving if parking brakes become faulty. Chit chats are great but have the stroller in your sight at all times. The injuries on your baby resulting from runaway strollers would be too much to bear.
14. Insist on a single footrest when having a side by side stroller
If you have a double stroller with two footrests, replace it with a single one that extends the whole length of the stroller. By opting for these types, you avoid the probability of the babies’ feet getting caught up between the two footrests.
15. No texting and Pushing
Sounds obvious, right? I have seen some parents ignore this noble safety tip. While it may not lead to an accident at the time, only time does tell. With today’s tech-savvy moms and dads, tucking away your smartphone might be too daunting of a task.
Well, you should not use your smartphone for the safety of your baby. Any momentary distraction might lead to a stroller or a carrier accident. If you must use your phone, stop the stroller, have the parking brakes on and finish all that you wanted to do then proceed after that.
16. Teach the baby not to lean out of the stroller
As the baby grows more mobile, it is imperative that they learn neither to lean out or stand up on the stroller during a ride. The same goes for older siblings who might fancy hitching a ride alongside their younger one.
Climbing onto the stroller is a sure way of tipping it over with all those onboard. Install the idea that it should be only one member at a time if it’s a single stroller. But if you want all the siblings to ride together, then add an extra seat or a piggy ride.
While it’s true that lots of families use strollers on a daily basis without any incidences, in the event that an accident occurs, it can be quite serious. Majority of studies done including reported emergency room visits show that head injuries from falling accounted for about 67 percent of stroller injuries.
So as to combat these injuries in our loved ones, parents to be, new parents, and seasoned parents like me need to be aware of these safety practices. Using the stroller in the way it was intended to be used with the available features is the first step to ensuring baby safety.
I hope these tips on how to keep your baby safe when strolling have been informative in one way or another in your attempts to keep your baby safe when strolling together.