Spend time on car safety. Driving is one of the most dangerous activities we do, so double-checking car seat installation and safety is important. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov) and safercar.gov offer useful tips and information, including recall alerts and car seat details. Three in four car seats are installed incorrectly, and many people put their child in the wrong type of car seat without realizing it.
Strap kids down, and keep your eyes on them. Joan Muratore, test program leader for Consumer Reports, says falls, especially from high chairs, constitute one of the most common injuries for babies. "You want to be careful that the harness is secure. Even though it's not required to have a five-point harness, we prefer it, so the kid can't wiggle his legs up [and get out]," she says. Kids can also fall out of strollers, which is why she says parents should always fasten the harness.
Register new products. When you register your new car, car seat, high chair or other product with the manufacturer, you will be alerted if the product faces a recall. New products typically come with a registration card, but many people end up throwing out these cards with the rest of the packaging.
Despite the important task of keeping kids safe, Green of Safe Kids Worldwide says there's no need to stress out to an extreme degree. "Let's not take the fun out of a kids' young life or parenting … Research and common sense are important," he says. And if you do discover a hazardous product, be sure to report it to the authorities like CPSC, Green adds. "Tell us about it, so other parents can learn from your experience."