Staying close to your baby is one important stroller safety tip! This baby is also safely buckled in with the stroller harness.
2011, Heather Corley.
Occasionally in the news there's a story about a child in a stroller rolling into the street, into the path of an oncoming train, or any number of other horrifying situations. Practicing a few simple stroller safety tips can help ensure that your baby isn't the one who is hurt in an accident.
Keep the Stroller Close to You
While you can't prevent every type of accident by staying close to your baby, you can certainly lessen the chance of quite a few problems. If you're standing nearby and the stroller begins to roll away or tip over, you're much more likely to be able to stop the problem before an injury can happen.
Set the Stroller Brakes
Whenever the stroller will sit in one spot for a while, or you need to take your hands off the stroller handles, set the brakes. Even seemingly flat surfaces can have a slight slant, which could allow your stroller to roll away. It's also possible that others can bump the stroller and roll it away. Setting the stroller brake will help keep the stroller where it needs to be - close to you.
Don't Trust Stroller Brakes Entirely
This may seem contradictory to the advice to always set your stroller brakes, but it's really not. You should set the brakes, but don't rely on them in risky situations such as when your baby's stroller is on a steep incline. During the past year, at least one stroller company had to recall a stroller model because the brakes were known to fail. Set the brakes, but stay close by in case they don't do what they're supposed to do.
Always Buckle Baby In
Wiggly toddlers often enjoy leaning over and moving all around in the stroller, so the seat belt can prevent them from falling out of the stroller. It's also helpful to use the seat belt close to nap time, when the sleepy slump position happens. For smaller babies, the seat belt is also important, though. It can keep little ones from slipping under the stroller's nap bar, and if the stroller were to tip over or be bumped hard, the seat belt could hold the baby in place to prevent injuries.
Check Your Bags
Lots of parents hang purses or diaper bags over the back of the stroller handle. On some strollers, that's not a problem. Some are even designed to have a diaper bag attached to the back. However, some strollers can tip over easily if there's any weight added to the back. Check the stroller manual to see if your stroller allows the diaper bag to be carried on the handle, and if it does, do another check with the diaper bag in place to make sure the bag, when fully loaded, doesn't tip the stroller.
It's not always easy to keep your little one out of the way when you're folding or unfolding the stroller, but it's wise to do so. Stroller parts that are folding or locking together could pinch fingers or cause other injuries. Don't let your child hop into the stroller until you're sure it is fully open and locked.
Watch for Broken Parts
Strollers can have hard lives, especially if you travel often. On my daughter's stroller, one airline broke off the parent tray, which I thought was no big deal until I sliced my hand on the sharp plastic edge that was left behind. If pieces of the stroller are broken, check to see if the stroller still operates safely, and then do another check to be sure that sharp pieces aren't exposed, and that baby can't reach parts of the stroller that could pinch their fingers. If pieces near the wheel break off, be sure that those parts weren't meant to keep baby from sticking his fingers into the wheel.
Travel System Specifics
Many strollers are designed to be used as travel systems, where an infant car seat can sit on top to carry smaller babies. Make sure that the stroller are car seat you're using are compatible, or you have a suitable adapter to hold the car seat securely to the stroller. Incompatible combinations could result in the car seat toppling onto the ground. Even if the stroller and car seat are made to be used together, always give the car seat an extra tug to be sure it's snapped onto the stroller properly. Use the car seat harness to keep baby in place, too.
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