A new baby means a lot of changes. One of these changes involves learning everything you can about infant safety. New babies require a lot of care and protection to ensure they stay safe during the crucial first year. Get a head start on keeping your baby safe by choosing the best and safest cribs, strollers, car seats and other baby gear.

Safety regulations on strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby equipment are constantly being updated, so make sure you buy new gear instead of used. Keep an eye out for product recalls, especially stroller recalls , and always ask for a refund or replacement if your purchase gets recalled.

Safe baby gear needs to be non-toxic and phthalate free. Remember that your baby is likely to touch and gum every available surface, so avoid any items that have chipped paint or scratched wood finish. A set of antique wooden blocks looks beautiful, but it is potentially hazardous to a new infant. 

Your baby's car seat is the most important piece of baby safety equipment. Make sure the seat you choose meets all current safety standards and that you know how to install and buckle your baby into it correctly. The best car seat in the world only works if you follow the instructions to the letter.

When you shop for baby gear, look for words that describe product safety. Make sure that your items do not have any small parts that your baby might swallow or any places where your baby's tiny fingers and hands might get stuck or jammed. This is especially crucial for cribs and strollers, which have many moving pieces.

In addition to buying safe baby gear, learn which sleeping positions are best for your baby, how to tell when your baby is ill, how to manage your baby's sleeping and eating routine and how to perform emergency procedures, such as infant CPR. New-parent classes teach all of these aspects of infant safety, and they are an invaluable resource as you prepare for your baby's first year. Safety comes from a combination of good baby gear and safe caring practices; do both, and you have what it takes to make it through the first year with a healthy, happy baby.