Were you aware that we celebrate Baby Safety Month every September? This started in the 1980s to encourage awareness of new car seat safety laws and safe sleep practices. Many of us have heard stories from parents and grandparents about kids rattling around in the back of a station wagon without seatbelts, or even newborns brought home from the hospital in a bassinet in the front seat! We have come a long way. Below, let us discuss 7 tips for keeping a newborn baby safe by combining the best of our parents’ and grandparents’ good intentions with modern knowledge and technology.
1. Choose a Safe Car Seat. There are many car seat options available in today’s market. When you have a newborn, you have the choice of either a dedicated infant car seat or using a convertible car seat with an infant insert that can be used as your child grows. Whether you choose to purchase an infant seat or a convertible seat, make sure you understand how to properly install it in a rear-facing position. Most states require all children under the age of 2 to remain rear facing, so choose a seat that can comfortably accommodate your baby as his or her legs grow.
2. Sleep Positioning. Over time, doctors have recommended various sleep positions for infants. It is generally acknowledged now that “back is best” and a newborn baby should be placed on his or her back in his or her crib to avoid any issues with breathing.
3. Clean Crib. It can also be important to make sure there are no bumpers or loose blankets or toys in the crib. An infant should have room to move around without anything in the way that could cause suffocation.
4. Gate It. If your home has stairs, make sure a gate is installed on either end to prevent the baby from crawling up unseen or tumbling down.
5. Test for Lead. Many older homes still have remnants of lead paint. While it may not be harmful just by being there, it can be harmful if your child licks or chews on anything painted with lead paint. Most pediatricians will test your child for lead if you let them know your home was built before a certain year, but it can be best to find out first and have it removed.
6. Smart Socks. If your newborn baby has any breathing or heart rate issues or spent some time in the NICU, it may give you peace of mind to invest in a “smart sock” like an Owlet that sends you information on how the baby is doing while he or she sleeps.
7. Stroller Safety. If you purchase a stroller that allows your infant car seat to click in and out for easy mobility, make sure the infant seat is positioned properly and that your infant’s head is not drooping while you are on the go.
During Baby Safety Month and beyond, our office is here to help you and your family. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.