Joana Lopes/ShutterstockThese used to come with every baby bedding set, but after they were declared a suffocation risk, most companies stopped manufacturing them. But that doesn't mean that a well-wisher may not find a set somewhere out on the Internet. "Let's start with the crib—we know bumper pads and all of those extra things that make them look so fabulous are dangerous for infants," says Pat Gabbe, MD, an infant mortality researcher at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Learn these other dangerous parenting mistakes.
Baby quilts and pillows
Africa Studio/ShutterstockJust like the crib bumpers, anything soft in the crib could be a suffocation risk. "It's safest to put your baby down without anything in the crib," Dr. Gabbe recommends. "Babies get used to what you put them in or on." The only exception? For little newborns, you could consider swaddling, as long as you keep the arms free. These are more things your pediatrician won't tell you—but you'll really want to know.
Amber teething necklaces
Fotosr52/ShutterstockMany moms swear by these necklaces for helping babies teethe, but Dr. Gabbe has reservations. "First of all, we don't want anything around baby's neck," she says. "It seems intuitive. You don't want anything that could strangle a baby. Also, they could swallow the beads—and we don't know what's in the beads that could be absorbed through the skin."
Toys meant for older kids
goodmoments/ShutterstockAge requirements are there for a reason. "I think every parent thinks their child is above average, and that they can push that barrier," Dr. Gabbe says. "But you need to think about the choking hazard—are there pieces that are too small and can go into a baby's mouth? The pieces have to be large enough that they can't put it in there and choke on it. You have to follow those guidelines. You can't be too cautious about safety with your children." So save the Legos or other big-kid toys until they've reached the right age.
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Patryk Kosmider/ShutterstockThese products have been marketed as helping kids walk sooner, but the research shows that it may actually delay your child's first steps—and that walkers have been responsible for a slew of injuries due to falls downstairs and other problems. Here are 12 baby gifts you might regret putting on your registry.
FamVeld/ShutterstockThese seem like a good idea in theory—they're meant to help keep your baby sleeping on his back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But Dr. Gabbe says they do just the opposite. "Sleep positioners are a danger to babies," she says. " There's no reason at all to put anything in that crib with that baby. In the first six months before they can really turn over, they may accidentally turn to their side and be wedged. They can't get themselves out of position." Find out the best position for baby to sleep in.
You have to be extra careful about anything your baby puts in her mouth, and Dr. Gabbe is concerned about the teethers on the market. "A cold washcloth is really a good safe thing to chew on—just put it under cold water," she recommends.
Lopolo/ShutterstockIf it was good enough for you, it's good enough for your baby, right? Not so fast. Older cribs may have wider slats, which could mean that your baby could get her head or body stuck between the bars. And in 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the sale of drop-side cribs, after they caused 150 suffocation or strangulation deaths between 2007 and 2010. It's better to go with a brand new bed for your baby. Find out why Finnish babies don't sleep in cribs.
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Handmade baby care products
Jurga Jot/ShutterstockSave those fancy Etsy-made soaps and lotions for you. Dr. Gabbe recommends that you choose products for your baby that have a little more oversight into their creation. "Anything you put on skin or in the mouth of a baby is potentially dangerous if you don't know if it's been safety tested," Dr. Gabbe says. "Get things that have been safety tested—especially things that are sold as alternative therapies." And never put these products on your baby.
Vasilyev Alexandr/ShutterstockGood news if you have a colicky baby: You don't have to toss that bouncy seat. But Dr. Gabbe wants you to be sure you use it as safely as possible. "Bouncy chairs are fabulous, but when parents put them on a countertop or on a chair, they can be extremely dangerous," Dr. Gabbe says. "Parents forget that babies are going to squirm and kick—and then they're going to fall." The best spot for your bouncy chair is on the floor, so if your baby decides to roll over when you turn away for a second, she doesn't have as far to fall. (These new studies prove that babies are way smarter than you think.)