baby cribAre you a new mom? Need something else to worry about? Of course you don't! So I'm just going to get this one over with quick -- like ripping off the Band-Aid -- you need to go look at your baby's blankets. All of them. NOW!

A mom in Utah just had the scare of her life when her baby boy started crying, and she discovered he was choking! The stitching on Sashleigha Hansen's son's baby blanket had come loose, gotten 'round his neck, and was strangling the little guy!

Consider this is a warning, Mom.

This could happen to anyone!

Most of us tend to think about the suffocation danger that blankets present to babies, especially infants under 1 year, when the Department of Health stresses a "safe sleep environment" to prevent SIDS.

But even when a blanket no longer presents a suffocation hazard, or when a baby is swaddled, it turns out there are other hazards to be aware of. Any loose strings -- be it loose stitching or fraying fabric -- on the blanket can present a choking danger to a baby. And my pediatrician always told me to be aware of long strings that might wrap around my baby's fingers, cutting off the circulation.

Although on occasion companies will recall products because of this, most of us have homemade blankets someone's granny made for our kids ... meaning this is one safety precaution that is really on us moms (and dads) to control. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends parents "check periodically for loose threads or stitching which could cause gagging or choking."

I always found that a good rule of thumb is to examine blankets every time you remove them from the dryer because the washing machine can do damage to fabric, but I tended to wash my daughter's blankets pretty frequently. Checking just before you put the blanket ON baby might be even better for some parents.

Have you checked your baby's blankets to make sure they're safe?

 

Image via NinaCoco/Flickr