Making a home baby-safe can seem like a daunting task for teen parents. It may be even harder as the home they are living in may not be under their control. Teen parents are typically living with their parent(s), a friend, or in a group home and logistical challenges like finances and transportation add to the complexity.
While the statistics on childhood injury are well-established (injuries are the leading cause of death in children age 19 and younger) – in general, adolescents have lower perception of susceptibility to risks (for themselves and their baby) due to their own stage of cognitive development.
Clinicians can support adolescent parents not only with information on how to childproof their home, but also with planning the logistics and identifying and problem-solving potential challenges. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides a safety sheet on baby safety, with links to additional resources that can be useful in initiating a discussion with teen parents. The CDC also provides a useful section on making a home child safe with information and resources on preventing the key areas of childhood injury, including:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/