Babysitting Refresher for Grandparents

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Babysitting Refresher for Grandparents

Infant and child safety has changed dramatically since today's grandparents raised kids.

In fact, a recent survey found many grandparents aren't aware of the newest safety guidelines and some of the "old ways" might be putting your child at risk. According to Hooshang Semani, MD, Pediatrics/Pediatric Intensive Care Medical Director, if grandparents are going to babysit, they should get up to speed on the latest safety standards.

Top 5 Safety Concerns

1) Choking:  Choking: Put away small items (if it can fit inside a toilet paper roll or smaller than 1.25 in. diameter) that could be choking hazards… including pet food, coins and refrigerator magnets. Avoid feeding children under age 4 foods that could be choking hazards, such as popcorn, chunky raw vegetables, whole nuts, hard fruits, whole grapes or cherries, or hard candies.

Other tips include: cut hot dogs lengthwise, remove the rubber tip from door stops, tighten water bottle caps and ensure batteries are out of reach.

2) Poisoning:  Be sure medicines, cleaning products and other household chemicals are out of reach and locked away from children. Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. If using a pill box, be sure to store it out of reach.

3) Drowning:  Drowning can happen very quickly and in less than one inch of water. Toilets are often overlooked as a drowning hazard.

NEVER leave a baby alone or with young siblings in a bathtub, even for a second. Never leave standing water in a bathtub, bucket, ice chest cooler or other container unattended. View our pool safety recommendations.

4) Sleep Safety:  To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it’s important to place the babies to sleep on their backs, every time. Blankets, bumpers and stuffed animals can also increase the risk of SIDS, and are not recommended for use in the crib.

The data about the benefits and safety of swaddling are in conflict, so the American Academy of Pediatrics has not taken an official stance on the practice, but does suggest not swaddling past eight weeks of age. Read the AAP Sleep Safe recommendations.

5) Toys/Furniture:  Safety standards have changed in recent years, meaning that older gear is likely to be unsafe. Please exercise caution in using second-hand children’s products or pulling out older toys, cribs and furniture from the attic, as these items may not conform to current safety standards.


Be aware of the instability of TVs, bookcases, dressers, small tables, appliances and other furniture, so anchor them to a wall. Children often use these to help stand up or for balance.

Consider your child’s age when purchasing toys and always check for recalls on second-hand toys. The AAP has called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers with wheels and advises against using them.

Be Prepared to Babysit

The best time to prepare for an event is before it happens. You can have peace of mind by:

  • Knowing the poison control number: 1-800-222-1222
  • Learning CPR
  • Having emergency supplies
  • Ensuring you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Knowing that the Valley’s first designated Pediatric Medical Center (Pediatric Emergency Room) is nearby 

Valley’s First Choice For Pediatric Care

Pediatric Services at Northridge Hospital are prepared to handle every kind of emergency, trauma or illness:

  • First Designated Pediatric Medical Center in the Valley!
    Los Angeles County has just designated Northridge Hospital as a Pediatric Medical Center (PMC) because we provide a higher level of care for critically ill pediatric patients.
  • An Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics means Pediatric Specialists are available 24-hours-a-day to render immediate treatment to children with critical injuries.
  • Our Pediatric Trauma Center is capable of managing complex pediatric emergencies and life threatening injuries.
  • The 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is certified by the California Children’s Services (CCS) and provides sick children with the highest level of intensive medical care.
  • Physicians with pediatric subspecialties and/or experience in pediatric care.
  • Pediatric-trained nurses.
  • Outreach educational programs for our community.
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Northridge Hospital Medical Center
18300 Roscoe Blvd
Northridge, CA 91328
(818) 885-8500