The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall on video monitors made by Summer Infant Inc today. Summer Infant makes over 40 models of video monitors. Look at their recall information if you have one, or call their information line Monday through Friday at 1-800-426-8627 for more information about getting a kit to secure the cord properly.
Recalls always make me feel uneasy; the photos accompanying recalls are often terrible to look at and the messages are impregnated with fear. As a mom and doctor, however, I tend to be reminded of things I can do to refresh the layers of safety I have at home for my children. I’m also reminded of the times I messed up. I end most 15, 18, and 24 month-old checks-up talking about our role as parents: to provide a safe and loving home for our children. I mean “home” in the greater sense, but also in the functional one. We need to create a place that allows for exploration. Our infants’ and toddlers’ curiosity is constantly expanding; and most importantly, their judgment lags behind their curiosity. We have to have a safe place for them to mature. This recall can serve as a great reminder of ensuring your baby, toddler, or preschooler has no cords within 3 feet of their crib, bassinet, or bed. Strangulation can easily be prevented.
After two recent strangulation deaths, and one near strangulation (20 month old was found with cord wrapped around neck), the CPSC announced a voluntary recall of these products. And although most of us don’t have this particular model, most of us have baby monitors. Check your baby monitor (video or not) to make sure the cord is not within 3 feet reach of a crib, changing table, or the floor.
Video and audio baby monitors are designed to work when distant from your baby or child’s crib/bed. You’ll still hear that baby screaming when it’s parked across the room!
The American Academy of Pediatrics says:
Place your baby’s crib away from windows. Cords from window blinds and draperies can strangle your child. Use cordless window coverings, or if this is not possible, tie cords high and out of reach. Do not knot cords together.
As I said, I had MANY lapses in creating a perfectly safe environment for my boys. We moved a number of times during their infant/early toddler years and I remember realizing at one point after a move that I had the baby monitor (we didn’t have a fancy video one) too close to O’s crib. I’d rested it on the top of his crib rail one time after vacuuming. O was about 11 months-old and exploring every corner of the crib at nap time (read: not sleeping). Only when I heard (through the receiver) that O was playing with the monitor did I understand the mistake I’d made! I’d unnecessarily plugged the monitor into the same wall as the crib. Eeeeps.
I moved the monitor to the other side of the room, about 6 feet away. Of course the monitor still worked fine. And yes, I felt a little stupid but I also wasn’t the only adult caring for my boys in our home. All of us had carelessly been using the monitor in that location. We all can use reminders…
As parents, we change rooms around, particularly with moves and new babies or transitions. Remember that all cords, those from blinds, monitors, and nightlights, need to be at least 3 feet from the crib and up out of reach of the floor. Using cordless blinds can be a great solution, too.
Do you remember a time when you realized you’d lapsed in creating a safe room for your child? Tell me I’m not alone…
Julia Gibson says
Oh, when Zane had just had a growth spurt I didn’t notice, and could all of a sudden reach a new drawer in the kitchen. He brandished a serrated knife and a pointy meat thermometer at me, which I promptly confiscated. And then I reorganized the kitchen.
We did the exact same thing with the baby monitor. It’s a video monitor and I was watching as Will got up and started playing with it. I laughed at first – and then realized the danger! So awful that something meant to increase safety could actually harm our kiddos.
My worst story I can think of off the top of my head is when my daughter was about 18 months old. I don’t remember what I was doing – sitting down for a minute maybe? Going to the bathroom? But I mistakenly thought “She’s in the living room and is perfectly safe in there or she’ll go in the kitchen where she is also safe”. It was just a few minutes of her out of my sight but that’s all it took and when I went in the kitchen her face was covered in kitty litter! I panicked and called Poison Control and they calmly told me that Johnny Cat clumping kitty litter is not poisonous at all and I only needed to worry if she ate over a cup of it. I said I was pretty sure she hadn’t and said I was humiliated to have to call about that. They said, “Oh don’t worry. It happens a lot. You are by far not the first call about this.” I have a hard time believing that though!
I learned the hard way to make triple sure a baby cannot reach an electric cord and my son’s resulting burn took us to the ER and gave me months of guilt.
He was sitting besides me in the bathroom (being overly attached to me that day) as I rushed to get ready for a playdate. He pulled my still- hot curling iron on himself and burnt the inside of his arm.
Washing dishes, knowing my 12 month old was safe because she was toddling around the living room and was unable to climb stairs…or so I thought. She made it up 3 stairs when I entered the room and watched her fall backwards on the wood treads. I’ll never forgive myself for that.
Also don’t forget to avoid hanging any artwork or pictures above/near the crib. They grow SO fast!
My “duh” moment came when I heard a knocking sound coming from my daughter’s room during naptime. I went in her room to find her sitting on the end of her crib (the ends were wider than the rails) with one hand on the top of the nearby rocking chair, rocking it hard against the wall. I can’t even imagine if she had fallen. After that, I took the crib bumpers out (she had stood on them to get up there) and moved the rocking chair out of reach!
My other DUMB moment happened when alone with my toddler and the home alarm began going off after a power outage. We didn’t subscribe to the service, and didn’t have a code to turn it off. After talking to the security system people, I was made aware that the only way to disconnect it was to climb up in the attic in the garage. After following the instructions and getting the horrible sound off, I looked down and my daughter was on the third step of the attic ladder! I talked her down after I almost had a heart attack. In hindsight, I let her come with me because the noise was so loud and she was scared, and because I thought I shouldn’t leave her in the house alone. What I should have done was put her safely in her crib while I went into the attic, even if it meant she cried a bit while I was gone. Sometimes you just don’t think straight.
I’m a few days late to this conversation- but does anyone have any ideas about keeping babies safe during their sleep time when they have other cords near them and it’s unavoidable- such as oxygen administered through a nasal cannula? My nephew has had his for over a year and we haven’t had something dangerous happen, but I worry that it could- I’ve checked on him at night and I’ve found the cord from the oxygen wrapped around his body.
Dan The Baby Monitor Man says
It’s horrific and tragic when something so terrible happens to one of our children. There are certainly precautionary measures a parent can take to eliminate any and all risk. The company performs a recall because horses are out of the barn, so they nedd to shut the doors and make sure no more get out. I also want to say that I am a father of three beautiful children. As parents our main priority is to make sure that our babies are safe and secure at all times, at whatever expense necessary. Baby monitors are just one way to help parents relieve some of the stress associated with being a concerned parent and as new parents or expecting parents, there is enough stess with just that alone. So, if baby monitors can relieve some of the stress (regardless of how small) it’s certainly worth it. Just my two cents.