It takes a village... but what happens when that village is socially distanced?
Baby Safety Month is a four-week focus on the safety needs of infants; the inaugural Australian campaign is set to launch in November 2021.
The safety of newborns and infants is always top of mind for parents and caregivers, but for the launch of Baby Safety Month in Australia, setting up support networks for mums, dads and carers isolated through COVID-19 will also be a priority.
It’s the first time Australia has been part of this global initiative, and the country’s peak body for infant safety
guidelines, the Infant and Nursery Products Alliance of Australia (INPAA), will spend the month presenting the
most up-to-date and practical information about parenting in the current environment.
So much varying information is available about choosing nursery products, it can become overwhelming
according to INPAA Director Tim Wain. Additionally, the reduced support that parents and carers are experiencing is impacting their mental wellbeing.
“We want to use Baby Safety Month as an opportunity to celebrate the joy of parenting by empowering
caregivers to be able to set up a safe environment for their baby,” said Mr Wain.
“But we also want to ensure they are getting everything they need to cope during this huge change in their life.
Usually new mums and dads might rely on their parents, other relatives, friends or parent groups for support, but with pandemic lockdowns and border closures keeping people apart, they need to look close to home for the help they need.
“The African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ has never been truer than it is now and we’re aiming to
connect a community that has been further challenged by COVID-19.”
A free guide for parents and carers
To make the latest and best information available easily, Baby Safety Month is launching a free digital guide called Tribe, which will be available for download via babysafety.com.au from 1 November.
“It’s a practical guide with the most accurate information on a number of areas: safe sleep practices, infant safety in the home, keeping them safe while out and about, and ‘pandemic parenting’,” said Mr Wain.
“It’s designed to reduce preventable injuries and increase the confidence of parents in their ability to embrace safe practices by purchasing the best and most suitable nursery products for babies and toddlers, and then also using them correctly.”
Support from leading not-for-profit organisations and alliances INPAA has joined forces with a number of not-for-profit organisations for Baby Safety Month, such as Red Nose Australia and Tresillian. Retailers and principal partners from the industry – such as Baby Bunting – are supporting the month-long series of activities, many of whom are engaging with the program as Safety Ambassadors.
Kidsafe Australia is also supporting INPAA’s Baby Safety Month by providing new parents and carers with practical tips on how they can keep their baby safe – at a time where face-to-face support is reduced.
“Many families have had babies without traditional supports over the last 18 months due to the COVID-19
pandemic,” said Kidsafe Victoria CEO, Melanie Courtney.
“We’re here to support new parents, firstly by providing easy-to-follow steps on how to set up their little bub's new home environment to reduce any potential hazards before they arrive, as well as how to safely transport them in a car.”
A global mission
To launch Baby Safety Month, INPAA has joined forces with US-based Juvenile Products Manufacturers
Association (JPMA), which first pioneered the event in 1991; Baby Products Association (BPA) in the UK; and the European Nursery Products Confederation (ENPC). Together, these industry voices will reach families across the globe with age-appropriate guidance and resources over different months.
Baby Safety Month Australia will also run virtual events throughout November, enabling parents and caregivers to hear from midwives and other experts. This will include strategies to access support networks in a time of social distancing and relative isolation.
The weekly safety themes for 2021 are:
Week 1 – Safe sleeping
Week 2 – Home safety
Week 3 – Out and about
Week 4 – Finding your tribe
Mr Wain said baby safety was not unique to any one country. “The learnings we’ve gained from such a solid and engaging program should be shared at the international level.
“Baby Safety Month is an inspiration for the Australian industry. The effectiveness of previous campaigns has
given INPAA confidence to embrace a similar program, and JPMA has been a supportive partner as we’ve worked toward establishing an Australian Baby Safety Month. We are pleased to join them to establish the program globally,” he said.
For further information or to download Baby Safety Month’s digital guide during November, visit babysafetyaustralia.com.au.