Common infant injuries, Associated Risk factors, and safety promotion

    • Common infant injuries, Associated Risk factors, and safety promotion

Safe Pad

Risk factors

Suggest safety interventions

S – Suffocation, Sleep Position

Latex balloons

Avoid latex balloons except with close adult supervision.

Plastic bags

Tie unused plastic bags in a knot and dispose of in a safe container.

Bed surface (noninfant) such as sofa or adult bed

Avoid placing infants to sleep on sofas, soft bedding, or adult bed.


Avoid use of pillows for sleep.

Soft cushions and blankets

Clear bedding of soft cushions and blankets.

Prone sleeping

Place infant to sleep on back at all times.

A – Asphyxia, animal bites

Food items: cylindric items such as hot dogs, hard candy, nuts

Cut hot dogs lengthwise; avoid hard candy in infants and toddlers. Infants should completely chew up each food item in mouth; do not feed more until item is swallowed.

Toys: small toys such as Legos

As a general rule of thumb, if the toy fits into a toilet paper cardboard roll, it can be swallowed by a small child.

Small objects: batteries, buttons, beads, dried beans, syringe caps, safety pins

Keep out of reach of infants, who are naturally inquisitive


Pacifiers should be one piece.

Baby (talc) powder

Avoid shaking powder over infant; if used, place on adult’s hand and then place on infant’s skin.

Domestic dogs, cats

Supervise child around domestic animals; teach not to approach dog that is eating, has puppies, or is not feeling well. Animals that are “tame” can be unpredictable. Small children are the right size for most domesticated animals to come face to face. Closely supervise child around visiting pets.

F – Falls


Infants like to climb; place childproof gate at top and bottom of stairs.

Diaper changing table

Infants do not have depth perception and cannot perceive a dangerous height from one that is safe. Never leave infants unattended on a flat surface, even if not rolling over.

Crib, bed-crib sides can fall when infant leans on them

In 2011, a mandate was made to stop selling drop-side infant cribs.

Infant carriers

Never leave infant unattended in a carrier on top of a surface such as a shopping cart, clothes dryer, washer, kitchen cabinet; place carrier on floor.

Car seat restraints

Secure infant in car seat restraint and never leave unattended if unrestrained.

High chair

Restrain infant in high chair; avoid using high chair except for feeding and only if adult supervision is adequate; even restrained infants can squirm out of some restraints and fall.

Infant walkers

Use only stationary walkers. There is no evidence that walkers help infants “walk” any sooner. Wheeled walkers can easily be propelled off stairs and other platforms such as porches or decks, causing significant injury.

Windows, screens

Avoid placing furniture next to a window. Infants learn to climb and can fall out of open windows, even with screens.

Television, stereos, sound systems

These must be secured to the stand; infants can pull the stand over, causing the TV or sound system to land on their heads, causing significant injury.

E – Electrical burns or burns

Electrical outlets

Place safety cap over electrical outlets; infants may be burned by placing conductive object into outlet.

Hot hair styling appliances (curlers, flat irons) 

Keep out of reach of infant and keep turned off when not

in use.


Infants may turn on tap or faucet in bathtub and burn self. Lower the water heater to a safe temperature of 49° C (120° F). Before placing infant in tub, check temperature of water and completely turn off faucet so child cannot alter temperature of water. NEVER leave infant unattended in tub or sink of water.


Place a childproof screen in front of fireplace.

Stove, hot liquids

Keep top front burners off and keep pot handles turned toward back to avoid infant pulling hot pot onto self and causing burn injuries.


Avoid smoking and holding infant on lap while smoking cigar or cigarette.

P – Poisoning ingestions

Medication, ointments, cream, lotions

Medications left in purses or handbags or on a tabletop can often be ingested by the curious infant.

Keep Poison Control Center number readily available ([800]-222-1222).

Plants: household plants may be a source of accidental poisoning

Keep plants out of child’s reach.

Cleaning solutions

Store in locked cabinet or in top cabinet where there are no drawers or shelves for infant to climb on. 

Avoid storing cleaning and caustic solutions in containers such as a soda bottle or jar—infants and toddlers cannot differentiate a soda from a caustic drain cleaner.

Inhalation or oral or nasal ingestion of poisonous or harmful chemicals such as methamphetamine, gasoline, turpentine 

Keep gasoline and turpentine stored in a locked cabinet or closet out of child’s reach. Avoid storing in containers that are also used to keep drinks or food.

A – Automobile safety

Car or truck and hot weather

An automobile-related hazard for infants is overheating (hyperthermia) and subsequent death when left in a vehicle in hot weather (>26.4° C [80° F]). Infants dissipate heat poorly, and an increase in body temperature may cause death in a few hours. 

Caution parents against leaving infants in a vehicle alone for any reason.

Air bags

Avoid placing infant in a car restraint behind an air bag.

Deactivate the air bag (available in certain models) or place the infant in the back seat in a proper car seat restraint.

Car seat restraint

See discussion later in this chapter.

D – Drowning 

Bath tub

NEVER leave infant unattended in tub or sink of water.

Swimming pools, bird baths, decorative ponds of water, splash pads 

Place fence around pools with gate lock that is out of child’s reach. Supervise infants in water at ALL times; an infant may drown in as little as 2 inches of water.

Swimming lessons are encouraged but are not foolproof for drowning if infant or child hits head on hard object and becomes unconscious as falling into the water.

5-gal buckets

Keep 5-gal buckets empty of water and elevated out of child’s reach.