Grandparents need help with modern child safety guidelines

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SALT LAKE CITY — With the holiday season approaching, many kids will be spending time at grandma and grandpa's house.

Here's something to consider: A new survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics, most grandparents don't know the best practices that will keep your children safe.

For example, nearly 75 percent of grandparents thought walkers were a good way for babies to learn to walk. Actually, the public has been urged to get rid of them because they're so dangerous.

Twenty-five percent said a 9-month-old baby can sit in a forward-facing car seat, whe in fact, doctors recommend they stay rear facing until age 2.

In addition, 33 percent of grandparents said the safest way for a baby to sleep is on their stomach, but parents have long been encouraged to put babies on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

Maybe it's time for a refresher course.

"I have a dear friend that her two month old granddaughter died of SIDS, just recently, and it was so sad," said grandmother Margie Mettenet "I don't know what caused it, but the point is that if you could do anything to prevent something like that, it's worth it."

That's why Mettenet says safety is important when she babysits her grandkids. She knows to always put her grandson to sleep on his back in a crib and to remove bumpers, toys, or extra blankets. She says if she needs to drive with the kids, she uses their car with all the car seats in the back.


As Thanksgiving and Christmas get closer, Mettenet says she is thinking about how to minimize accidents. She turns pot handles inward and locks her gas burners to prevent burns. When the kids are playing, she says an adult will play with them to supervise.

"There's nothing in this whole world that can take the place of adequate supervision," said Janet Brooks, a child advocacy manager at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Safety recommendations have changed a lot from when Mettenet was a mom. The extra precautions are saving lives. In the past 15 years, child advocates say child injury has reduced by 50 percent.

Primary Children's Medical center can help grandparents bring their safety skills up to date, with free classes and car seat checks. It can also help to have a conversation with your parents or in-laws about potential safety risks in their homes.


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Nadine Wimmer


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