💬 "Ask Me Anything" about Infant & Toddler Safety with Holly Choi

NanitMelanie Nanit Team
edited August 25 in Growth & Milestones

Infant & Toddler Safety Explained

Join Holly Choi for an Ask Me Anything about Infant & Toddler Safety from September 10th through September 14th!

Co-Owner/Instructor at Safe Beginnings First Aid (@safebeginnings)

Holly Choi is a leader in childhood injury prevention education in North America. Holly is a nationally-certified first aid instructor, and a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor. Holly is a member of both the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS) and Prevent Child Injury, and has completed additional child-focused safety training in child passenger safety and childhood burn prevention. Her extensive experience and knowledge in baby and toddler safety (first aid, car seat safety, childproofing, and injury prevention), in addition to being a mom of 2, gives her a well-rounded and unique perspective.

Follow Holly on Instagram @safebeginnings and check out her website for additional resources.



  • HollyChoi
    HollyChoi Member, Expert

    I'm looking forward to it!

  • Hi Holly! What is the safest way to travel with your baby on an airplane? Really interested in the 3-6 month range… is it best to have them in their car seat in their own seat?

  • HollyChoi
    HollyChoi Member, Expert

    @mkd929 Hi! Thank you for your question!

    The safest way to travel is in their car seat, your instinct was correct! The reality here is we're not actually concerned about a CRASH (the way we are in a car/vehicle), we're worried about TURBULENCE. When I certify new car seat technicians, I will show them a video of a snack cart in the aisle when turbulence hits - and how everything just floats (imagine in these cases you'd be dropping faster than gravity).

    While many airlines will teach parents how to 'brace' baby in their arms in the event of turbulence, in truly significant turbulence, this will not be effective. We know from the laws of physics that g-forces can make light objects feel much heavier - so a 10-15 lb baby could feel even 20x heavier in turbulence, making it impossible for us to actually hold onto them in extreme turbulence.

    With that in mind, our goal is to keep them restrained in their seat somehow. We have two ways to do that: an FAA approved car seat (harnessed car seats, not boosters - and there will be a sticker on the car seat shell that indicates it is FAA approved) or a specialty harness such as the CARES harness by Kids Fly Safe. Unfortunately, the harness won't work in this scenario because it's made for kids over age 1 and between 22-44 lbs. In your scenario, you can definitely install rear-facing on a plane - this will help small babies without neck tone maintain a safe breathing position, but also get some rest (we hope!) If you're concerned about how much space you'll have and if your car seat will fit, seatguru.com is a great resource. You can type in your flight number, see what plane your flight is on, and the dimensions of the seats.

    I always recommended printing out a copy of the airline's car seat policy off their website just-in-case, but I will say I've fortunately not run into any hassle myself when I've used car seats on a plane for my kids, both rear-facing and forward-facing.

    Lastly, RE: ticketing - most airlines require you phone in to purchase a ticket for a child under age 2. To guarantee them a seat, they'd need their own ticket. When purchasing tickets for a family of 3, with a child under 2, you'd likely only be charged for two seats for the adults if purchasing online (this definitely catches some families off guard at the airport!) The cost of an extra ticket can be a huge barrier for some families, but something to be aware of.

    Side note: the reason car seats or alternative restraints like the CARES harness are recommended instead of a baby carrier or wrap is due to the parent's movement then being involved, too. We do not want the child to be in between the parent and the seatback of the seat in the row ahead, as this could lead to injury.

    I hope that all helps 🙂

  • Hi there! We live in an apartment with radiators and exposed heating pipes, and I'm trying to figure out the safest way to cover them before they heat up in the fall. I've read that you can use some sort of fiberglass insulation over the pipes but that seems unsafe to touch as well, and any radiator covers I can find are either cheap / flimsy or too expensive. Any recommendations for something budget-friendly and safe would be helpful. Thanks so much!

  • HollyChoi
    HollyChoi Member, Expert

    Hi @sjprepg ! This is always a tough one, and something I see locally on a regular basis!

    For pipes: insulation is typically best. "Fiberglass shell pipe insulation" to wrap the pipes is most commonplace. I have seen some families use sisal rope, and commonly suggested across the internet - but I don't personally recommend this. It's effectively like putting hay against a steam pipe which in itself can present a hazard. We always try to avoid creating a hazard to fix another! The other issue with the commonly suggested rope solution is that if the rope is treated in any way, when the heat is on the heat will cause anything on the rope to off-gas (typically some type of oil treatment). I'm team insulation for those reasons!

    For radiators: covers are absolutely best. There some reliable DIY builds online if you're handy (This Old House is a trusted source and has a great tutortial). This of course takes time and can be done easily in a single day, but if you're not already a DIY'er, it's probably not the project to start with. Pre-made covers, as I'm sure you've seen, can range wildly in price; as high as $600 +. That being said, there are a few more affordable options:

    • Finchman Furniture makes some really beautiful covers in the $200-$300 range.
    • Surprisingly, Walmart (online) carries some great options closer to the $80 range.
    • Radiator covers, by design, are less complicated than other babyproofing gear (and therefore less of a risk when using second-hand). You can often find them second-hand through websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
    • Depending on the space, sometimes using a "configure gate" (Kidco Makes these - think of a multi-sided gate that would go around a fireplace hearth).
    • When all else fails, creating a "yes" space - somewhere where baby would be safe when unattended for a while can work. For example, using a playard. However, if this is your long-term home, this solution isn't great for toddlers and I'd therefore go the cover route if at all possible.

    Have a safe and warm fall season!

  • Hi Holly-

    We are starting to baby proof and looking to buy gates to block off access to rooms and the top of the stairs. We tried gates with bars but having installation challenge so are considering mesh gates. Are mesh gates as safe and effective? Any features we should look for to have or to avoid? Are there any gates in particular you’d recommend? Thanks! Stefanie

  • What are the top rated baby proofing products?

  • 9M old LOVES climbing, we want her to be adventurous but not hurt herself. What are some recommended ways to encourage with safety being considered?

  • What is the most random thing parents forget (or doesn’t even cross their minds) to baby proof!

  • delaneystephanie
    edited September 2021

    Hi Holly! We have a 5 month old who loves rolling the distance of the room (haha) and it’s time to start baby proofing! What do you recommend for older furniture that not come with wall mount hardware?

    Additionally, do you have any recommendations for baby proofing with a floor bed? We’ll likely transition to one around 8 months.

    Thank you!

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