It has been shown statistically that the majority of accidents to newborns and infants are totally preventable. What it takes is for every new parent to be aware of the risk factors for newborns, and taking active steps to prevent it. You need to arm yourself with valuable knowledge in the care of your baby.
Here are 16 basic safety precautions which every new parent must know:
1. Do not put baby to bed with a bottle. Babies can choke or acquire ear infections, tooth decay and other dental troubles from having something in their mouths overnight.
2. For neck support, and because a newborn cannot sit up, roll a towel or get a support pillow that goes around the newborn’s head. You’ll use this in the car seat, stroller and wind-up swing. As newborns cannot sit up yet, many umbrella strollers – the easy folding, simple-looking, portable one-seat strollers do not give newborns the support they need, or are not sufficiently padded. Hence the support pillow.
3. Ensure your stroller has seat belts and crotch straps and that you use them. Strollers should have a wide base to prevent tipping and brakes that work.
4. Do not have aspirin around for children. It’s been linked with Reye’s Syndrome, which can be fatal. Never give a newborn something the pediatrician has not recommended, anyway.
5. Do not use (or minimize) baby powder or talcum on a newborn because it can be inhaled into the baby’s lungs.
6. Never tie a pacifier or any other objects on a string around a baby’s neck. Don’t use homemade pacifiers. Check pacifiers and nipples frequently to ensure the nipple-part can’t be sucked off and swallowed, and see that it has no holes or tears. The guard or shield around the nipple of the pacifier should be larger than the baby’s mouth and should have ventilation holes so the baby could breathe if it did get in there, anyhow.
7. Keep toys on strings, drapery cords, laundry bags or other objects with strings off the baby cot and away from newborns to prevent strangulation. Mobiles on cribs should be securely fastened and not have long strings. Remove them before the child can reach them.
8. The slats of the crib should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart. Be sure to check, especially if using an antique, hand-me-down or secondhand crib. Mattresses should fit tightly up against the sides and there should be no corner posts.
9. Install a smoke detector in the baby’s room or nursery.
10. If you have a playpen or portable crib with mesh sides, never use it with a side left down. Newborns could roll into the mesh pocket and suffocate. Better yet, don’t use mesh-sided playpens.
11. Never, not even once, take your baby in the car without him or her being strapped in the car seat, and the car seat properly belted in the car according to manufacturer’s directions. And never use a carrier device or sling-type seat as a car seat, unless it is specifically designed for this purpose. A low impact crash may not hurt an adult, but can prove fatal to an unsecured newborn.
12. Baby changing tops should have safety straps and/or railings to prevent the baby from falling off.
13. Do not use honey in any food or on the pacifier for babies not yet a year old. It can cause infant botulism.
14. Remove unnecessary objects from the crib, bassinet or playpen when baby sleeps to prevent suffocation. That means no pillows, stuffed animals or floppy toys. Don’t cover the crib mattress in anything like a plastic garbage bag, dry cleaning bag or light plastic sheet. These can block a newborn’s breathing in the event that the baby end up with its face down.
15. Crib or play gyms should be used only until the child is old enough to pull up and push up on hands and knees. Remove the gym when the baby is sleeping. You may wish to use this only on the floor, with baby lying on a soft blanket.
16. Keep small toys away from small babies. Toys go automatically into mouths and choking can, and does, result. Be especially careful of older toys with parts that can be pulled off, like teddy bear eyes, or parts that can break into small pieces.
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