(September 22, 2015)
From cradle to car seat and in between, find out if you're keeping your baby as safe as possible.
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When is it okay to put a baby to sleep on her tummy?
Until age 1, babies always should snooze on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. One caveat: If your little one rolls from her back to her side or tummy on her own, you can leave her that way so long as she can roll from her back to her tummy and from her tummy to her back, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Your grandmother’s antique crib was fine for her babies, so it’s okay to put your baby in it.
According to the AAP, the manufacture and sale of older drop-side rail cribs, which pose a risk of suffocation or strangulation, was prohibited in 2011. Cribs also must have stronger slats and mattress supports than in the past. And old cribs don’t meet safety standards for spacing between crib slats: 2 3/8 inches or less so a little head won’t get caught between them.
Which of these should you put in your baby's crib?
To reduce the risk of suffocation, strangulation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the AAP advises keeping pillows, blankets, toys, bumpers and any other loose or soft things out of your baby’s crib until he celebrates his first birthday.
True or false? You can flip your baby's car seat to face forward on his first birthday.
A child should be in a rear-facing car seat until he reaches the seat’s maximum age and height limits, according to AAP guidelines. At the very least, a child should be a year old and weigh 20 pounds before he faces forward. Smaller children should stay in a rear-facing seat until they reach 20 pounds, regardless of age. Larger kids may reach that milestone sooner. But tots under 2 are less likely to die or be injured if they ride rear facing, so waiting until that second birthday is a smart move.
True or false? It's okay to give a baby a hot dog.
Hot dogs are a choking hazard, as is anything round and small that a child can get into her mouth — coins, buttons, marbles, whole grapes, raw carrots, gum, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even a balloon can block a tiny airway if a child bites into it and sucks in the latex. Other no-no's for babies and kids under 4: chunks of raw veggies, meat, peanut butter and cheese.
True or false? Because it's natural, it's fine to give a baby a bit of honey.
Honey is a potential source of bacteria spores that can cause infant botulism. It’s characterized by symptoms such as weakness or floppiness, a weak cry, slow feeding and loss of facial expression. Though infant botulism mostly affects babies younger than 6 months, it's best to steer clear of honey until your little one’s first birthday, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The safest way to manicure a newborn's fingernails is to:
Keeping her fingers covered will certainly help prevent a newborn from scratching herself with her nails, but it's hardly practical. Putting her fingers in your mouth could lead to infection. To trim a baby's nails, use clippers designed for doing that. Gently press the tip of each finger down and away from the nail so her skin is clear of the clippers. You also can gently file them down, suggests kidshealth.org.
If you're breastfeeding, when is it okay to give a baby a pacifier?
It's fine for a baby who breastfeeds to enjoy a pacifier. But it's best to wait until nursing is established before giving a newborn a binky, advises La Leche League International. This usually takes several weeks.
What's the best way to get the temperature of a baby's bottle just right?
You should never zap baby formula (or breastmilk) in the microwave. It may heat unevenly, leaving pockets of very hot liquid, warns the Food and Drug Administration. Even if you shake up the bottle, it's safest to warm it by running hot water over it for a few minutes. To test it, sprinkle a few drops on the back of your hand, not your wrist. If it's lukewarm, it's just right.
True or false? As long as you use a baby bathtub you can bathe your newborn the day you bring him home.
Until a baby's belly button heals — meaning the little stump left behind after the umbilical cord was cut dries up and falls off — you should stick to sponge baths, according to the Mayo Clinic. Focus on your little one's diaper area and his face, especially around his mouth and chin which both can get a little icky from drool and drips of breastmilk and formula.
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