Ask the Expert: About keeping infants and toddlers safe

Q: What precautions should I take when using baby monitors?

A: “It is important to keep safety as your top priority in your baby’s nursery,” says Anthony DeRoss, MD, Medical Director of the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “This requires careful use of all your baby gear, including your baby monitor.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) warn that cords on baby audio and video monitors present a strangulation hazard to infants and toddlers when placed within a child’s reach.

Dr. DeRoss recommends taking the following steps to ensure you are using baby monitors safely:

  • Check the location of all monitors and other products with electric cords, including those mounted on the wall, to make sure cords are out of your child’s reach.
  • Place monitor and other cords at least three feet away from any part of the crib, bassinet, play yard or other safe-sleep environment.
  • Never position a monitor inside or on the edge of a crib.

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Q: How long should I keep my child in a rear-facing car seat?

According to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, parents should keep kids in rear-facing car seats until they reach age 2 or the maximum height and weight suggested for their car seat by its manufacturer. Research shows children younger than age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or sustain serious injury in a rear-facing car seat during an accident.

“Rear-facing seats spread crash forces across the whole body, prevent injuries to the brain and spine and provide the most support for growing joints and muscles,” says Dr. DeRoss.

Two common rear-facing car seat concerns

1. I worry that my baby’s legs will be injured in a crash if they are up against the seat.
“While this may seem like a reasonable concern, there is no evidence of leg, hip or feet injuries to children in rear-facing seats,” assures Dr. DeRoss. “In fact, studies show that children in forward-facing car seats are more likely to have leg injuries when they are thrown forward in a crash and their legs hit the seat in front of them.”

2. I want to be able to see my baby while on the road.
“As much as you would like to be able to see your baby while driving, taking your eyes off of the road – even just for a few seconds – to see what your baby is doing is extremely dangerous. Singing songs, telling stories and just talking to your baby are great ways to interact,” says Dr. DeRoss.

Car seat conundrum? We can help.

Knowing which car seat is right at which age can be tricky. Make it easy. Call the car seat experts at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital at 216-844-2277 with questions or to schedule a FREE car seat installation. For more answers to common questions about rear-facing car seats, visit

Anthony DeRoss

Medical Director, Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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