Uncommon – but important – baby safety steps

(BPT) – You take every precaution to make sure your family is safe and healthy. There are locks placed strategically throughout the house, baby gates installed on all stairways and little plastic plugs in every electrical outlet. You think your little ones will be safe and secure in these spaces, but have you done enough to ensure their health and wellness?

Whether you’re a new parent or have toddlers in tow, there are a few more things you should do to ensure your children are safe at home and away. Consider adding these not-so-common baby safety steps to your checklist:

Car safety and air quality

You know it’s important to install and use the right car seat, with your child buckled in properly every time you hit the road. You might not have considered another important feature of your vehicle: air quality. Research from the California Air Resources Board proves the air inside cars, trucks and SUVs can be up to six times dirtier than the outside air because they are surrounded by emissions from other vehicles. What’s more, studies show that babies exposed to pollution in the first year of life are more likely to develop allergies.

What can you do to ensure cleaner air for your little traveler? Consider the FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filter, powered by natural baking soda. FRAM’s filters remove up to 98 percent of dirt, dust and allergens from the air passing through a car’s A/C and heating vent system. This means a cleaner and healthier trip for baby and everyone in the vehicle. What’s more, it takes just minutes to change your vehicle’s air filter (right behind the glove box in most models), so it’s a simple step anyone can take, usually with no tools needed.

Window and furniture security

The natural light from windows is welcome in homes, but it’s important to be cautious when it comes to youngsters. Once kids start climbing furniture, be sure windows that are low or accessible are locked to avoid fall hazards. Pay close attention to blinds and window treatments, too. Corded window coverings present a choking risk and are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Take safety steps like installing cordless blinds or using breakaway safety tassels.

Take a good look at your furniture, too. Make sure bookshelves, dressers and other heavy pieces are securely fastened to the wall. Installing anchors and brackets is simple and can save lives by preventing furniture tip-overs.

Chemicals and cleaning products

Start by keeping locks on all cabinets where cleaning products are stored or place bottles high and away from the reach of infants and toddlers. Beyond security, it’s important to consider the appearance of products and make switches if necessary. Brightly colored laundry detergent pods can look like candy, and bottle designs can feature bubbles that look like soft drinks. Don’t let youngsters confuse these products with treats.

A clean house eliminates germs that can stress developing immune systems and cause sickness. However, some of the more popular cleaners contain toxic ingredients, so consider replacing them with natural alternatives. Baking soda and vinegar are affordable, effective cleaning ingredients that help with numerous household tasks, from disinfecting the tile floor where toddlers play to wiping down the high-chair tray where baby eats.

While some of these healthy-baby steps may not be common, they are still important for keeping children safe, secure and healthy – and for giving parents peace of mind.