Newborn Health & Safety
Health and safety basics that are worth repeating.
Many of these health and safety tips you’ve heard before, or they’ll sound obvious. But even the most aware parents can have an occasional lapse in judgment or fail to recognize the risk of a situation. So it’s good to read over this list and take it to heart.
Never leave your baby unattended:
- With a young sibling or a pet, no matter how trustworthy they seem
- In an infant seat, stroller, bathtub, or near any pools of water
- On a changing table, bed, countertop or other elevated surface, even if you think she couldn’t possibly move off of it
Watch for strangulation or suffocation hazards:
- Never put anything plastic in your baby’s bed or under her head, such as a plastic bag or plastic sheeting.
- Watch for cords or fabric that could find their way around her neck.
- Never tie her pacifier on a string around her neck or head. And never tape a pacifier to her mouth.
- Never prop her bottle up while feeding her.
Carefully examine baby’s toys and clothing:
Although newborns are too young for toys, it’s not too early to make sure they don’t have any loose pieces, small parts or sharp edges. If it’s small enough to fit down a toilet paper roll tube, it’s too small for a baby.
Check her clothing to make sure it doesn’t have any buttons, decorations or cords that could come loose and cause choking or strangling.
Keep her healthy:
In your baby’s first two to three months of life, it’s best to keep her away from close contact with lots of people who might get her sick. This doesn’t mean you have to stay at home, but consider keeping her tucked away in a baby carrier or in a stroller with a shade pulled down when you’re in a crowded place. Some illnesses that are not a big deal for older children or adults can be serious for newborns.
Don’t feel shy about asking all those who do hold your baby to wash their hands before touching her.
Keep to a regular schedule of well-baby visits and immunizations.
Taking Baby’s Temperature
A normal temperature for your baby is 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Fevers in newborns can be a sign of an infection and you should call her doctor.
With all the options available now, something as basic as taking your baby’s temperature can be confusing. The best way to check your newborn’s temperature is with a temporal thermometer. This quick, easy and painless method uses an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in her forehead.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s fever, or are not sure of best way to take her temperature, be sure to call your doctor.
Many babies will have some degree of jaundice after birth, which is an excessive amount of a substance caused bilirubin in their blood. Signs include a yellowish tint to the skin and eyes. For healthy, full-term infants, jaundice usually shows up around the second day and disappears within a week. Frequent feedings help it go away, since bilirubin binds to milk products and then comes out in the stool.
If jaundice is present within 24 hours after birth, or becomes worse over time instead of better, then your baby might need phototherapy from a special ultraviolet light. Call your baby’s doctor if you notice her skin or eyes becoming more yellow each day, or she seems listless and is feeding poorly.