Whether you're a first-time parent or you've been around the block once or twice, you've likely heard some parenting tips, tricks, and advice (some of which are, of course, now referred to as parenting "hacks") designed to make your life a little bit easier. While some of these so-called hacks are, truly, pretty brilliant and do, in fact, smooth over the sometimes rougher edges of family life and busy schedules, others are really better being disregarded than followed. There are some common parenting hacks that are actually super dangerous, and you should know about them so that you can avoid potentially putting your child in danger unintentionally and accidentally.
From letting your child fall asleep in a bouncer or swing, to using a heating pad to warm a cool mattress, some parenting hacks are just not safe. Sometimes, it seems that those coming up with life hacks are far too concerned with the amount of time or money (at least the perceived amount of time or money) that can be saved, without really considering the risks involved and asking yourself whether they are logical or safe. And if you hear them suggested to you enough times, you might also overlook those other factors in favor of something that will save you precious minutes, of which no parent has enough. These hacks can potentially compromise your kid's safety, and that's just not worth it, no matter how genius and life-changing they may seem.
1Covering A Stroller With A Sheet To Keep Your Child Out The Sun
Tons of parents do this without giving it a second thought and, when you think about it, it makes total sense. Why wouldn't you cover your baby's stroller with something that will keep out the sun, especially if they're not slathered in sunblock? Well, if you regularly do this (particularly in the warmer months), you might want to stop. According to Kidspot, Swedish researchers discovered that covering a stroller with a blanket can make the stroller too hot and cause your baby to overheat. Make sure there's air circulating whenever you put any kind of fabric over the stroller to keep your baby safe and comfortable. You don't want to turn your stroller into a mini greenhouse.
2Using An Ice Bath To Alleviate High Fevers
If you've heard of this hack, chances are it was from your parents, grandparents, or other older family member. While you might think that making your kid cold will help bring down a fever, according to Science Daily, ice baths can actually result in hypothermia. Researchers found that a hefty percentage of grandparents believe that that's the way to treat a fever, so make sure that you, your partner, and your parents all know that it can pose a safety risk.
3Letting The Baby Snooze In A Bouncer Or Swing
Babies aren't meant to stay in their little bouncers for long periods of time. According to a different Kidspot article, an infant died in 2015 after being left in her bouncer to nap while her mom fell asleep on the couch. While the mom undoubtedly was heartbroken, it's probably not the kind of thing you think could happen as a result of letting your little one nap in their bouncer or swing. It's tempting to use the bouncer as a convenience, but you're safer putting the baby to sleep in their crib and following crib and sleeping safety guidelines.
4Use A Heating Pad To Warm A Crib Mattress
While some seem to believe that using a heating pad to warm up a crib mattress is a brilliant idea, it is, of course, extremely dangerous for your baby to sleep that way. According to Consumer Reports, babies and infants much more sensitive skin than adults — what may seem like a comfortable temperature to us can actually burn their skin, so don't use a heating pad to warm their mattress. While some parents use a heating pad to warm their baby's mattress before they put their baby to sleep the risk there is of forgetting to turn it off and remove it means it might be better to avoid it altogether.
5Using Benadryl As A Sleep-Aid
You should never use Benadryl as a sleep-aid, no matter how many people suggest that you do. According to New Kids-Center, Benadryl should never be given to babies to sedate them because it can sometimes put them into a very deep sleep that can cause complications. If your baby isn't sleeping and you're struggling to figure out why or what you should do about it, talk to a doctor, , read some books (there are plenty available), or look into hiring a baby sleep coach to find the method that works for you.
6Make A DIY Slide Using Your Stairs
Surprisingly, this is a fairly common parenting hack. It involves putting cardboard down over your stairs for your kids to use as an indoor slide. It sounds like it'd be fun, but, it's very steep, and as Healthy Way noted, cardboard doesn't hold a lot of weight, so it might be more like falling down the stairs than sliding. Plus, think about how they're going to stop...
7Use A Vacuum To Make An Easy Ponytail
This hack has made the rounds all over the internet and it is funny and clever if you have a very weak vacuum. But, as the aforementioned Healthy Way article pointed out, if you're using a dirty or forceful vacuum, it could result in injury. Plus, a ponytail isn't really all that difficult of a hairstyle to DIY, anyway.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.