Is Your Infant Safe?
Protecting your baby is a full-time job. Here are several safety recommendations that apply to infants:
Car Seat Safety
Mississippi law requires that children be secured in a car seat for travel. When selecting a car seat, consider these factors:
- Ensure the age and weight/height limits of any car seat are appropriate for your newborn
- Ensure the car seat will fit in your car by reading your car manual for appropriate placement
- Do not use a car seat that is expired or one that has been used during a collision. Both make the car seat potentially unsafe.
- When installing the car seat, children under 1 year of age (and longer if possible) should remain rear facing in the back seat of the car.
- Fill out the registration card for car seats or any baby equipment and send it back to the company so that they can inform you if there is a recall on a particular product.
Here are some helpful videos and instructions:
How to Install a Rear-Facing-Only Infant Car Seat
How to Install a Convertible Car Seat Rear Facing
Hot Car Safety
Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you plan to come back soon. Temperatures in cars can get dangerously hot very quickly. When distracted and developing a new routine with a new baby, put your purse/phone in the back seat alongside your baby as an added reminder that you have a “baby on board.”
Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Babies are born with heavy heads and very weak neck muscles
- Support the baby’s head when holding him for the first few weeks or months.
- Resist the temptation to shake a fussy, colicky baby while holding around the torso. Even slight shaking which causes a baby’s head to bob can cause internal bleeding and result in brain damage, blindness and even death.
- If parents need a break, find another person to stay with your baby. If alone, put your baby in a safe sleep space, such as the crib or bassinet, on his back, turn off lights, shut the door and go to another room until you’re calm. That may be all your baby needs to stop crying, especially if he is overstimulated or tired.
You can reduce your baby’s risk of sleep related death (SIDS) by following these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Always put your baby on his back to sleep
- Breastfeeding reduces risk by more than 50%
- Hold off on pacifiers-- wait three to four weeks until breastfeeding is well established
- Don’t overdress/overheat your baby. He only needs one light layer beyond what you’re wearing
- No smoking around baby. Even clothes that smell like smoke can increase your baby’s risk for SIDS
- Well-baby visits and vaccines help prevent certain childhood diseases
Safe sleep environment:
- Flat, firm sleep surface with no loose blankets, stuffed animals or bumper pads
- Do not let infants sleep in a sitting or semi-sitting position during the first few months
- Do not use a crib manufactured before 2011 because they don’t meet current safety standards
- Keep crib away from windows with drapery cords or tables with hazardous objects accessible as he begins to pull up and stand
Home Safety Tips
Prevent Infant Abduction
- Don’t erect yard signs, balloons, or anything to announce the birth to passersby
- Do background checks or references before hiring sitters
- Verify IDs before allowing someone inside your house
- Siblings under school age should not have unsupervised access to your newborn
- Older children should be taught how to hold and play with baby safely
- Older children may have toys with small parts and should be taught to pick up toys to prevent choking
- Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight
- Stay indoors around dawn and dusk to avoid mosquitos
- Ask your health care provider for recommendations on sunscreen and insect repellant
- Practice water safety near pools or bodies of water
- Never take baby in a hot tub!
And… don’t forget that infection prevention for your newborn begins with good handwashing for everyone who comes into contact with your baby!
Protecting your baby is a full-time job. Here are several safety recommendations that apply to infants.