Safety is always at the forefront of any new parent’s mind. Caring for a baby is a huge responsibility, and many parents feel unsure at first about how to keep a newborn safe and comfortable ❤️
While the first few weeks especially can feel like a crash course, don’t worry—you’ll soon master the basics. Here are some tips to help.
Use a slip-resistant bathtub designed specifically for babies, and fill it with 2 to 3 inches of warm—not hot—water (96 to 100° F/35 to 37° C). Check the water temperature with your elbow or wrist rather than your hand; you can also use a quick-read thermometer.
Before you start, have everything ready: soap, towel, washcloth, cup for pouring, etc.
Always stay within an arm’s reach for the duration of your baby’s bath.
Diaper changing safety
Always strap your baby in for a diaper change on a changing table, even though they’re not rolling over. Though they can’t roll over intentionally at this age, it can still happen by accident.
Keep diapers and wipes stocked so you’re not tempted to step away.
If you need to go grab something, bring your baby with you.
As tempting as it may be to put a lovey, blanket, or other comfort item in the crib or bassinet, it’s important to keep your baby’s sleeping area completely empty.
Use a closely fitted sheet on a firm mattress that fits snugly within the crib.
Place your baby on their back to sleep.
Avoid falling asleep while holding your newborn.
The rule of thumb for dressing your baby appropriately is to add one layer beyond whatever you’re wearing (caveat: postpartum hormones can throw off body temperature 🙃). If it’s T-shirt weather, dress your newborn in a bodysuit with a T-shirt over it. If it’s really warm, a bodysuit on its own is fine.
Watch for signs of overheating, including flushed cheeks, a sweaty back, clammy skin, and rapid breathing.
For the colder months, use layers that can be easily removed or added and a snug-fitting hat.
If you use a blanket to protect your baby from the wind and other elements, make sure it’s tucked in snugly and there’s no loose fabric around their face.
Baby wearing safety
Whatever carrier you use, make sure your baby’s head is turned to the side, not facing your chest.
First aid tips
Avoid adhesive bandages for minor cuts and scrapes, especially on fingers and hands. The bandage could make its way into their mouth and become a choking hazard. Instead, blot any blood with gauze until the bleeding stops.
For more infant safety guidelines, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep site and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Infant Safety page.
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