You're Doing it Wrong! 5 Most Commonly Misused Baby Products

The most commonly misused baby gear...The most commonly misused baby gear...There are products we all find ourselves using as baby toys once we become moms, such as measuring cups and spoons. However, there are some things that are meant for babies, that when used incorrectly, can have catastrophic consequences. One that has been in the media recently is the common misuse of the Bumbo baby seat. When there is a warning not to put a product on a high surface, there's a reason. I loved the Bumbo for the season that we (properly) used it.

Just like the Bumbo, a product used properly can be a handy little helper for a busy mom. But when used improperly, that same product can injure a child, or worse, leave a family without a child. Below you'll find 5 products that can make your life easier as a parent when used properly, but require constant vigilance to assure the safety of the child.

Baby BathtubsBaby Bathtubs
1. Baby Bathtubs
80 percent of child drowning incidents from 2005-09 occurred in the home, with 50 percent of the victims being left alone in a bathtub or with another child in the bathtub. Just because there is an older child or sibling in the tub doesn't safeguard your baby. Babies can be heavy and very slippery when wet, so don't count on an older sibling to be able to rescue a baby or know what to do in an emergency situation.

It seems easy enough to run and get a towel from the dryer, soap from the sink ... I know, because I've been tempted to do it. But babies should never be left alone in any bit of water. Ever.
(Statistics from 2005-2009 CPSC data)

Related: How having a baby is like a frat party

Slings and PouchesSlings and Pouches
2. Slings and Pouches
There may have been at least 13 deaths associated with improper babywearing, including 3 in 2010. A majority of the babies in these cases were under four months of age and died as a result of suffocation.

While the "bag" style sling that was to blame in several deaths has been recalled, the truth is an infant can suffocate in any type of sling with improper use. Your baby's face should always be visible without their chin tucked to their chest. Thoroughly read the manual and warnings that come with your baby carrier and if you're still unsure, there are plenty of resources available online to help you with any issues or concerns you may be having. (Many baby carrier companies have YouTube accounts filled with step-by-step videos showing the proper use of their product.)

Play YardsPlay Yards
3. Play Yards
Play yards have been involved in about 50 deaths and about 2,000 non-fatal incidents since November 2007. The majority of the infant deaths occurred in children one year old or younger. Injuries and deaths are a result of faulty side rails, play yards being placed too close to windows or window cords, the inappropriate installation of bassinets and changing tables, and unnecessary bedding being added in with a sleeping child. Make sure you read your manual twice and check for any movable parts before letting your little one play in this.

Related: Multi-tasking Fail - 10 busy-mom moments with baby that didn't work out so well

4. Strollers
While strollers are more to blame for injuries rather than deaths, it's critical to monitor your child in the stroller constantly. It seems logical enough to simply strap your child in - however, a majority of injuries come as a result of strollers tipping over or rolling down stairs or curbs with the baby still strapped in.

Other injuries result from car seats not being properly strapped into travel systems or strollers not being fully locked open and then collapsing in on a child. So even though you use a stroller every day and feel like you have nothing to worry about, it's important to be mindful and vigilant about proper stroller use.

Related: 10 things about baby only a mom can appreciate

Video MonitorsVideo Monitors
5. Video Monitors
I love my video monitor with the power of a thousand burning night vision screens, but two children died last year after being strangled in the cords of their video monitors. It can be tempting to place the camera unit right above the crib to get the best view, but babies are crafty little creatures and they will find a way to get to that cord.

A minimum of 3 feet between any video or audio baby monitor cords and a child in a crib is an absolute must. Even if your baby is a newborn, make the change now while you're thinking about it, not after you forget and it's too late.

- By Casey Mullins

For 2 more commonly misused baby products, visit Babble!


10 things you should take OFF your baby registry
The most age-inappropriate baby gear...EVER
10 must-have items for mom and baby
Bizarrely fascinating baby portraits from the 19th century
10 mortifying things your baby does in public...and 10 "optional" solutions

Baby's First Year | Babble.comGet updates from brand new moms on their wild ride. Follow Baby's First Year on Facebook and Twitter.