A must-read list of safety tips for parents and caregivers.
The overwhelming love and joy a newborn brings cannot be prepared for, but you can take precautions for safety. There will be questions (there are always questions), but these precautions are crucial to keep your baby safe.
Make sure your baby has a first aid kit, thermometer, Tylenol, and Motrin on hand for any first-time scrape or illness. Check expiration dates regularly, so you don't need to scramble when the sniffles strike, and make sure every caregiver knows where these supplies are.
Humidifiers will keep your baby's nose from becoming irritated and soothe irritation in their tiny nostrils. It can also be used all year to help them get better sleep.
The FDA says children under two shouldn't put decongestants or cough syrups in their mouths; instead, invest in a nose-sucker and use natural remedies like saline spray and organic chest rubs.
Set up a safe sleep environment
For a while, you'll be living with a new roommate. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your new baby in your room (not your bed) during the first few weeks, so get a bassinet, or a playground with a removable bassinet, to put right beside you.
When your child moves into their own room, you should keep their crib as minimalist as possible; the AAP recommends no blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals until at least age two. You can wrap your newborn in a swaddle or sleep sack for extra warmth, and always place them on their back to sleep.
You can let your child sleep with a pacifier if he/she likes it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sucking helps keep your baby's airway open and may help prevent SIDS. Perhaps you should wean them off after six months, before it turns into a habit difficult to break.
Sleeping safely extends to you, too. Setting your phone alarm to sound every few minutes during late-night feedings will prevent you from falling asleep holding your newborn if you have trouble staying awake.
Getting home safe and sound
Consider getting to know your car seat in advance, as your hospital will require you to take your baby out of the hospital safely buckled in their car seat. Ensure your car seat base is secured in your car if you'll be driving home from the hospital. Practice buckling and adjusting the straps before having a tiny newborn in the seat.
A good fit is crucial. 5-point harnesses offer the best protection for newborns. Be sure to check these three things when you're buckling up: chest, shoulders, legs. Chest clips should not be higher or lower than armpit level. When baby is rear-facing, the shoulder straps should go through the seat cushion just above or below baby's shoulders. It is important to keep the buckle between the legs from tucking behind the baby's bum.
Finding an expert to install your car seat can be challenging, so be sure you do it correctly. You can find Child Passenger Safety Technicians in your area at Safekids.org.
Never put a coat on the car seat. They impede a snug-fitting harness, and a snug harness is what keeps your baby safe.
Germs are inevitable. The cotton car seat cover will keep your infant's airway safe indoors while they aren't able to wear a mask.
Ensure your baby's safety before they notice
Look at your house from your baby's perspective. After they become mobile, they'll be curious about everything in sight, so prepare by padding corners, locking cabinets, and covering outlets.
A baby gate can keep your baby safe if there are stairs in your home or rooms that are off limits. Baby playgrounds can be used to create smaller safe areas in larger rooms or outdoors.
Your baby will climb if it is not enclosed. Besides climbing, he will also pull and bump. Ensure that all large pieces of furniture in your house are secured to the wall so that they do not tip over.
Ensure that you babyproof your entire house. Keeping your bathroom safe with a cushioned faucet cover and your kitchen secure with cabinet safety locks.
Keeping your children safe while playing
Keeping your baby's toys clean with a natural cleaner is important since they will inevitably put everything in their mouth. Soft fabric toy chests won't slam shut on your baby's fingers when it's time to tidy up.
Keep an eye out for broken or loose parts in your infant's toys. To learn more about how to buy toys that are safe, visit the AAP.
When your baby snoozes, remove him from a bouncer, rocker, or activity center, recommends the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). During the first few months, babies should sleep on firm, flat surfaces that are safe for them.
CPSC also recommends putting a toy through a paper towel roll to determine whether it's too small for a baby. A toy that fits is too small.