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Baby Safety

A Glossary of Baby Safety Terms and Definitions -- For Your Peace of Mind

You love your baby of course, and therefore want to keep him or her safe. But it is a 24 hour a day duty, being concerned with the welfare of your new arrival. And being confused about something or other doesn't help your nerves at all. Hopefully you're already getting lots of help for this task whenever you need it, which everyone does once in a while, and here is a bit more now. Below is a list of some important words and phrases that are relevant to this topic but maybe you're not so sure about the meanings of:

  • Acetaminophen
    This is a non-aspirin containing medicine for the relief of pain and fever, such as Tylenol and others. (See Aspirin).

  • Allergens
    Any substance that can cause an allergic reaction. There are many of these but some common examples of this are pollen grains, pet hairs, certain foods like nuts, and some medications.

  • All Terrain Tires
    These are fitted to some strollers and carriages for added safety to prevent skidding or sliding on wet grass, dirt paths, etc.

  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
    This institute works to create agreement between all relevant parties during the introduction of new standards.

  • Antiseptics
    Helpful chemicals which destroy germs and other contaminants.

  • Appliance Locks
    These are generally plastic hinges or straps that can be adhesive (stick on). They will resist varying amounts of force to prevent unsupervised opening of kitchen appliances.

  • Aspirin
    This popular painkiller should never be given to children because of the risk of the child developing Reye's syndrome, which is a serious and potentially fatal disease of the brain and liver. Other words you should look out for in your child's medicine which means aspirin are acetylsalicylate, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylate and salicylic acid. (See Acetaminophen).

  • Audible Tick
    This is a system on some baby monitors that emits a `ticking' sound from the parent unit in time with the baby's breathing. (See Parent Unit).

  • Audio Monitors
    Baby monitor systems that transmits the sound of your baby via radio waves to you in another location. Most have variable volume controls (the monitor, not the baby). The most affordable audio monitors use a frequency of 49MHz, which can be prone to interference, depending on the circumstances of the location. Next up are models that operate on a frequency of 900MHz, these generally have more range and channel options. The widest frequency ranged monitors use 2.4GHz.

  • Audio/Movement Monitors
    A baby monitor that includes a sensor pad. (See Sensor Pad).

  • Audio/Video Monitors
    A baby monitor that transmits the sights as well as the sounds of your baby. A video camera in the nursery sends pictures either to the small provided black and white TV or to your own main television set.

  • Auto Close
    Spring loaded safety gates that close themselves if accidentally left in an open position.

  • Auto Lock
    Safety gates that lock themselves when they are shut.

  • Baby Proofing/Childproofing
    Generic terms for a whole range of products and precautionary behavior that makes any environment (usually referring to the home) safer for infants and young children. It can range from the simple fitting of VCR guards and electrical outlet plugs to completely transforming the home in a multitude of ways.

  • Background Checks
    These are the criminal record checks carried out on childcare providers before they are permitted to work near children.

  • Belt Path/Belt Route
    This where the seatbelt passes through or around the child seat in your car.

  • Bleach Solution
    A mixture of 1 gallon of water with a quarter of a cup of household liquid chlorine bleach for the disinfecting of surfaces.

  • Belt-Shortening Clip
    A locking clip that shortens the length of the lap belts around child safety seats, where the standard supplied clip is not thought suitable for the model of restraint fitted.

  • Bi-fold Door Locks
    These are sliding strips that fix across the top of bi-folding doors, to prevent them being opened from further down.

  • Breathable
    Blankets or other textiles that allow air to flow through them for lessening the chances of accidental suffocation.

  • Canopy
    A fabric shield on a carriage or stroller which may or may not be collapsible, for keeping wind, rain or excessive sunshine off your baby.

  • Channels
    Dual or multiple channels on a baby monitor help to lessen any interference to the signal.

  • Convertible Car Seat/Child Restraint
    A baby or booster car seat that may be used in either forward or rear facing positions. For infants the seat should face to the rear, and be semi-upright. Once the baby is one year old (and at least 20 pounds in weight) then the seat should be upright and face forward.

  • Cord Shorteners/Windups
    Disc shaped units that open to hold the extraneous lower lengths of window blind or other cords wound round inside it, and then click shut to keep it in place and out of harms way.

  • Corner Cushions
    In some countries, this term is used instead of corner bumpers.

  • CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
    A safety promoting organization. Check their advice and recommendations (in the United States) for all baby products before you make your purchase, including Baby Walkers, Back Carriers, Carriages, Carrier Seats, Car Seats, Cradles, Cribs, Child Safety Gates, High Chairs and Hook-On Chairs amongst many other things.
  • CR/CRD
    These respectively stand for child restraint and child restraint device. There are a number of such devices designed for the better protection of babies and older children when traveling in automobiles, including car seats and car beds. (See CSS).

  • CSS
    This abbreviation means a child safety seat.
  • Decals
    These sticky labels are placed onto glass for preventing shards in smashes. Also can be known as: Glass Safety Films.

  • Dense Foam
    This heavier foam for crib mattresses is safer by being firmer, which means it keeps its shape for longer.

  • Dual Direction
    See Two Way Opening.

  • ECE.R44.03
    The European Union safety standard for child safety seats.

  • Extensions
    These are fitted to baby safety gates where doorways are wider than average, or used to construct a fencing arrangement for the dividing up of large rooms into baby safe and unsafe zones.

  • Five-Point Harness System
    This system of restraining a child in a car seat, with two each of lap and shoulder straps, and a crotch strap buckling them together, is thought safest by most experts.

  • Floor Rail
    The base of the support on some safety gates, this can be a tripping hazard for busy adults.

  • FMVSS 213
    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. This standard must be met by all car safety seats for children.

  • FSID (Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths)
    A British charitable organization that campaigns for safer baby environments.

  • Fully Compliant
    This term means that a baby product or other product meets all relevant and required governmental safety standards. These standards can and do differ from country to country. (See PVC for just one example).

  • Ground Anchors
    These should be provided by the manufacturers of outdoor swings, and preferably concreted into the ground for an extra safety measure.

  • Harness Retainer Clip
    This is the cloth, or more commonly plastic, clip holding the twin shoulder straps close to each other and in position.

  • Infant Only Seat
    A rear facing car seat that is used by the youngest and smallest of babies.

  • IR (Infrared)
    If an audio/video baby monitor system has IR, this means that you can still see your child on screen when the room they are in is dark. (See Audio/Video Monitors).

  • Lamaze International
    A Washington DC based nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting new mothers and their families in all aspects of parenting.

  • Magnetic Keys
    On drawer and cabinet locks, these remain open when the magnetic key is in place, this being useful for busy parents in the kitchen; so they do not have to keep on adjusting a safety lock themselves during repeated visits to the same place in a short time frame. When leaving the room, the magnetic key is removed, to shut the lock tight.

  • Maximum Load
    This is the heaviest weight of child that products like baby bouncers or jolly jumpers, child and nursery swings have been constructed to safely support.

  • Molded
    Molded construction of plastic items gives an indication as to a lack of possibly breakable component parts.

  • Motion Indicator
    A light on the parent unit of a baby monitor that signifies that the baby is not still. (See Parent Unit).

  • Multi-Purpose Latches
    These are kitchen appliance latches not specifically designed for a particular appliance, but adaptable, for Ovens, Freezers, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, etc.

  • NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
    This is the federal body that is responsible for regulating child restraints in the United States.

  • Nylon Mesh/Netting
    This is often used along railings to prevent falls or trapped heads.

  • One Hand Release
    These types of locks one child safety gates are easier for a parent or babysitter to use when holding the baby.

  • Out Of Range Indicator
    This is either a cautionary light or sound that warns when the parent unit is not receiving information from the baby's room.

  • Operating Range
    For baby monitors, this is the maximum distance that the baby unit (transmitter) can send receivable signals to the parent unit. Depending on model and environment, this may be anything from around 30 meters to 300 meters. (Also see above).

  • Parent Handles
    These are the removable or permanently fixed tall handles attached to the back of (usually wheeled) ride-on or sit `n' ride toys.

  • Parent Unit
    The radio receiver part of a baby monitor system that is kept with or close to the parent or babysitter.

  • Poison Control Center
    Your local center will advise you on any substance swallowed by your child, so make sure their phone number is readily available.

  • Potable
    This word means that a liquid is safe and suitable for drinking.

  • Portable
    Of baby monitors, this means the parent unit (receiver) is light weight and battery powered or rechargeable, often with a belt clip for added convenience and peace of mind.

  • Pressure Fit/Pressure Mounted Gates
    These are safety gates that are attached without the need for drilling, screws or adhesives. Sliding pressure bars adjust to the width of the doorway and are then jammed in place by a locking device.

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
    This material is widely used for many reasons, but in baby safety, soft toys made of this plastic could be toxic. In the European Union, manufacturers and retailers are banned from using this material in teething toys. No such law exists in the United States despite concerns from parents and safety experts.

  • Recalls
    When a product is found to be unsafe and breaching safety standards after it has been released for distribution, the manufacturer must take action to right the wrong. Consumers have the right to free repairs or replacements on all products recalled for reasons of safety.

  • Rolling Casters
    Some cribs have these for an aid to easier movement; they should always be lockable if fitted.

  • Safety Valve
    In shower safety taps, this is the device that cuts off the flow of water if the water temperature rises to a level of heat where scalding may be a danger.

  • Self-Adhesive
    Anything with a sticky covering for attaching itself firmly to surfaces, for example, some furniture bumpers are self-adhesive.

  • Sensor Pad
    Extra equipment with some baby monitor systems that if placed under a standard baby mattress, will alert parents if there is no body movement for a given time.

  • Slam Stoppers
    Small, usually rubber stoppers used to prevent the likes of cupboard doors from closing completely, as a protection against trapped or amputated fingers.

  • Snap-down
    On some electrical outlet covers these are plates that fix beneath the outer housing which snap down to guard the sockets when the plug is removed.

  • Sound Level Indicator
    See Visual Sound Indicators.

  • SPS (Side Protection System)
    Child car safety seats with extra strength in the sides.

  • Stability
    Check carriages, baby walkers, high chairs etc for the presence of wide bases that will prevent easy tipping over.

  • Standard Gates
    Child safety gates which can adjust for doorways measuring from around two and a half feet to just over four feet in width.

  • Steam Sterilizers
    Probably the safest way to deal with baby bottles, these sterilizers can be either designed for use with microwave ovens, be types with their own integral electric heaters, or come as stove top models.

  • Suction Cups
    Used for such things as securing baby bath seats or rings inside the bath.

  • Suitability
    Age suitability for baby clothes, cribs & strollers is never an exact science, as babies grow and develop at differing speeds.

  • Supportive Saddle
    This is a special type of seating with some suspended door baby bouncers/bouncing seats that helps to keep the baby in a proper and safe posture throughout the activity.

  • Swivel Outlet Covers
    These covers pivot up or down as required to either permit or block access to the sockets.

  • T-Shield
    This is a pad shaped like a triangle or the letter 'T' that is fits over a child's belly and hips on a car seat. Attached to the shoulder harness, it buckles at the crotch.

  • Temperature Read Out
    Some baby monitors have a thermometer in them to check the room temperature. This information may be either displayed on the baby unit only, or also sent to and displayed on the parent unit. (See Baby Unit and Parent Unit).

  • Tether Strap
    A strap for securing the top of a child restraint to prevent it tipping forward.

  • Three-Point Harness System
    A way of keeping a child in a car seat that has twin shoulder attachments, and one at the crotch.

  • Tray Shield
    On some car seats, this is a wide, curved pad that is pulled down around the child.

  • Toddler
    A child aged between one year and three years.

  • Turnaround Time
    When a convertible car seat is used, this is the point in time when the baby is too heavy for the car seat to remain in the rear-facing position, and so, must be turned around to face forwards. This information should be supplied by the manufacturer.

  • Two Way Opening
    Child safety gates that can swing open in both directions.

  • Unitary Surface Material
    This is a cushioning material such as rubber matting that is placed underneath and round about equipment in a children's playground.

  • Visual Sound Indicators
    Usually LED (Light Emitting Diode) light displays on the parent unit that provides a gauge to how much noise the baby is making. A useful tool if the parent is hard of hearing, or for when other loud noise may render the crying baby unheard. Systems with this option are often called sound-and-light audio monitors.

  • Wall Mounted
    These safety gates are fixed to the walls with screws and so prove to be a firmer barrier to unwanted infant exploration than the pressure mounted type.

  • Weather Boot
    A fabric attachment on strollers to keep the baby's legs and feet extra protection from the elements.

  • Window Locks
    Various devices to keep an open window from being further opened by a curious or overly adventurous infant. They should be used as window screens cannot fully be relied upon to prevent a child from falling out.

So hopefully that list will be of help to you. There's certainly a lot of things to think about where the safety of your baby is concerned, and don't forget to make sure they have their vitamins as they continue to grow, but nowadays in the western world; babies are safer and healthier on average than ever before in the history of humanity. So don't fret too much and make yourself ill in the process!

About The Author

Matt Jacks is a successful homebased freelance writer, one of experience and diversity. He provides tips and advice for consumers purchasing or comparing disigner diaper bags, Babies web site and disposable diapers. His numerous articles offer moneysaving tips and valuable insight on typically confusing topics.

This "Glossary of Baby Safety Terms & Definitions" reprinted with permission.

© 2004 - Net Guides Publishing, Inc.

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