Category Archives: Baby Safety

Should You Give Your Baby a Pacifier?

Many parents have heard conflicting advice on whether or not they should let their baby suck on a pacifier. Pediatricians say there are pros and cons.
A pacifier can be an effective way to calm a crying baby. Babies soothe themselves through their suck reflex. Some babies do not get enough time with a bottle or breastfeeding and may benefit from sucking on a pacifier. It is also easier to get a child to stop sucking on a pacifier than to stop sucking on a thumb.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents let a baby fall asleep with a pacifier for the first year to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is helpful to have the baby suck on the pacifier while falling asleep, but there is no additional benefit after the baby has already fallen asleep.

There are potential downsides to allowing your baby to suck on a pacifier. If a pacifier is introduced too early, a baby who is just learning to nurse may become confused. You should wait to introduce a pacifier until after your baby has gotten used to nursing, which typically takes a few weeks. Parents also sometimes offer their baby a pacifier when the baby is really hungry.

baby pacifierA study has found that children who use pacifiers are more likely to develop ear infections. Researchers believe this may be due to a change in pressure between the middle ear and the upper throat.

Babies who suck on a pacifier too much can develop misaligned teeth if the mouth becomes fixed in an unnatural position. Talking with a pacifier in the mouth can also lead to speech problems.

If you decide to give your baby a pacifier, check the label to be sure it is the right size for your child’s age. Select a pacifier with a symmetrical nipple and a shield that is wider than your baby’s mouth and has air holes. Choose a bisphenol A-free plastic pacifier. Studies have shown that some plastics can disrupt infants’ endocrine systems.

You should never put a pacifier on a cord around your baby’s neck or crib because the baby could be strangled. You should not allow children to share a pacifier. Do not dip the pacifier in anything sweet, especially not honey, before giving it to your baby. If the pacifier falls on the floor, rinse it well, or better, clean it with soap and water.

Pediatricians are divided on when is the appropriate time to wean a child off a pacifier, with some suggesting nine to 12 months and others saying by three years.

When you decide that it is time for the pacifier to go, tell your child in advance so that he or she is prepared. You can gradually wean your child off the pacifier by limiting its use to certain rooms or times and by not putting it back in your baby’s mouth if it falls out at night. You can cut the pacifier, show your child that it is damaged, and throw it away together. Never give a damaged pacifier to your child. Many children naturally lose interest in a pacifier around six to 12 months of age. Once you have decided that your child should give up the pacifier, be consistent and do not give in if your child asks for it.

Should You Co-Sleep with Your Baby?

co-sleepingCo-sleeping, or the practice of parents sharing a bed with their infant, is controversial in the United States. Some parents and doctors believe it is beneficial, while others believe it poses safety risks.

Advocates of co-sleeping believe it promotes breastfeeding by making it more convenient and makes it easier for a nursing mother to attune her sleep cycle to her baby’s. It can also help infants to fall asleep more quickly, especially in their first few months of life and when they wake up in the middle of the night. Co-sleeping can help babies to sleep more during the night because they wake up more often and feed for shorter periods of time, which can allow them to get more total sleep. Co-sleeping can help parents who are away from their infants during the day feel a sense of closeness to them. Some researchers believe it can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) because babies and parents wake up more frequently.

Opponents of co-sleeping say it poses a risk of suffocation and strangulation. Parents, caregivers, or siblings can roll onto or against the baby while sleeping. Some researchers believe co-sleeping can contribute to SIDS, but the research is unclear and ongoing. Co-sleeping with a parent who smokes may increase the risk of SIDS. A baby can suffocate if it becomes trapped between a mattress and headboard, wall, or other object. It can also suffocate from being face-down on a waterbed, regular mattress, pillow, blanket, or quilt. Infants can be strangled if they get their heads caught in spaces in a bed frame.

Co-sleeping can also make it difficult for parents to get a good night’s sleep. An infant who co-sleeps may have trouble falling asleep at naptime or when the baby needs to go to sleep before the parent is ready.

If you choose to co-sleep, always place your baby on its back with its head uncovered. Be sure that your headboard and footboard do not have spaces where your baby’s head could get caught and that your mattress fits snugly in the frame to prevent the infant from getting trapped between the mattress and the frame. Never allow your baby to sleep in an adult bed alone. Do not let the baby sleep on a soft surface, such as a soft mattress, sofa, or waterbed. Do not use pillows, comforters, quilts, or other soft or plush items. Use a sleeper instead of blankets. Do not drink alcohol or take medication or drugs that could prevent you from waking up or cause you to roll over onto the infant. Keep your bed away from draperies or blinds so that your baby will not be strangled by cords.

If you want to keep your baby close to you but not in your bed, you can place a bassinet, crib, or play yard in your bedroom. You can also use a device that looks like a bassinet or play yard with one side missing that attaches to your bed and will prevent you from rolling over onto your baby.

If you are co-sleeping, talk to your doctor about when to transition your baby to sleeping in a crib. Making the switch before six months of age is usually easier because the co-sleeping habit is not yet ingrained and other developmental issues, such as separation anxiety, have not yet emerged.

Baby Bath Time Tips

Baby Bath Time

When you have a newborn you have to carefully give them a bath. It is the parents’ job to make bathing a safe and enjoyable experience until their child is old enough to do it on their own. Bath time can be difficult sometimes, so here are a few tips that can help ensure it doesn’t turn into a disaster.

Tip #1 – Be Prepared

Make sure you have everything you need before you put your baby in the tub. The last thing you want is to find out is that you are missing something after you already started bathing your infant. After you have everything you need you can start running the water. Stay focused on your baby the whole time, this is important for keeping them calm and happy during the bath.

Tip #2 – Keep the Bathroom Warm

About an hour before bath time you should turn on the heat or place a space heater in the bathroom. This is especially important in the winter to keep the bathroom warm. By keeping the bathroom at a warm temperature your baby will be comfortable and won’t get the chills.

Tip #3 – Perfect Temperature for the Water

It is a good habit to run cold water into the bath first and then add hot water. This will ensure that the water is always cool first and not scalding hot. This will also help you avoid a rambunctious toddler from being burned when trying to climb into the tub early. Start with cold water and then warm it up with hot water.

Tip #4 – Bath Time Entertainment

Keeping your child entertained during bath time is important. Giving your baby a bath should be a fun bonding experience for you both. When bathing a newborn, just stirring the water or gently splashing will entertain them. Once your child gets older you can add colorful waterproof toys for them to play with. You don’t want your child to associate taking a bath as a negative activity, so keep it fun and never make it a punishment.

Tip #5 – Use Proper Products

A baby’s skin is soft and delicate, so it is important to use products that are pH balanced and dermatologist tested. The products you use should protect their delicate skin, not damage it. Try to find shampoo that won’t burn if it accidentally get in their eyes and soap that is safe to use with delicate skin.

Tech Gadgets that Help Keep your Newborn Safe

Every parent wants to keep their child safe at all times. Many parents with newborns can stress themselves out by constantly checking their baby’s crib to make sure they are still breathing. New tech gadgets are helping put new parents’ minds at ease by helping you keep your newborn safer than ever before.

Owlet Baby Monitor

Owlet Baby Monitor

This wearable “Smart Sock” slips onto your baby’s foot. It will not only track movement, but also measure information like heart rate, oxygen levels, and body temperature. All of the recorded information is transferred to your smart phone via Bluetooth so you can access your baby’s stats in real time form the comfort of your own bed.

Price – $199

Peeko Monitor

peeko baby monitor

This onesie that your baby wears to bed is in development right now. This wearable monitor measures activity level, sound, breathing, and much more. All of the information is sent to your smart phone and you can customize alerts so that you receive notifications about information you want to know.

Price – Unknown

BabySense Movement Monitor

This baby monitoring system only tracks your baby’s movements. It is a sensor-padded mat that your baby sleeps on top of. If there is a 20 second time period where there is no movement, the parents are alerted.

Price – $130

Oma+

oma+

This product by Levana is a small mobile monitor that clips onto the baby’s diaper to track movement. If Oma+ detects a lack of movement for 15 seconds, it gently vibrates to rouse the baby. If three consecutive vibrations should occur, Oma+ will sound an alarm to alert you. The unit is safe for newborns because it uses a low-voltage battery and no radiation or frequency waves.

Price – $170

SafeToSleep Breathing Monitor

This last safety device is a wireless mobile system that your baby sleeps on top of, similar to the BabySense. The SafeToSleep, however, is embedded with sensors that monitor your baby’s breathing, sleep cycles, and sleep time. It will also generate sleep reports so you can see an overview of your baby’s general sleep patterns. All of this information can be accessed by your smart phone.

Price – $329

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Providing Safe Sleep for your Baby

Baby Sleeping

Sleep is very important for infant growth, as well as physical and mental development. Infants will generally sleep about 18 hours of the day. By the time they are four months old, a baby’s sleep cycles include active sleep and quiet, deep sleep. The active sleep phase is important to the development of learning and memory, while during the deep sleep phase human growth hormone is release to help the baby grow.

While sleep is an important part of a baby’s life, it can be dangerous. Providing a safe sleeping environment for your baby is a must. As a parent, you can play a key role in creating a safe sleeping environment for your child.

The safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs. The stomach-down position can put pressure on their face and cause them to re-breathe air that does not contain enough oxygen. When a baby sleeps on their back it reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant deaths.

What they sleep on matters. Your baby should sleep on a firm surface with a fitted sheet. Avoid loose bedding in their crib and don’t put your baby to sleep on a couch or sofa.

A safe sleep area looks plain. There should be no pillows, blankets, quilts, or stuffed animals. All of these things can obstruct a baby’s breathing or create a low-oxygen environment.

Avoid overheating. Infants can’t remove their clothing when they become hot, so it is best not to bundle them up in a warm room or during hot weather.

Keep cords and strings away from your baby’s sleep area. Avoid any strangulation possibilities by doing this. If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it does not have a string on it.

Keep the crib away from the wall, windows, blinds, and curtains. This will help protect your baby from getting trapped or entangled.

Use a crib that meets safety standards. Check with your baby’s health care provider and parent education resources to find out about product safety. Make sure there are no recalls on the products you buy for your baby.

Keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same room as where you sleep is beneficial. They will be close to you and you can easily check on them during the night. Make sure they are sleeping on their back and check to make sure they do not feel hot.

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San Francisco Improves Rules for Strollers on Public Transit

san francisco strollers public transitThey’re bulky, they’re cumbersome, and they’re an unfortunate necessity for all parents. Strollers, particularly larger, stronger models with a harness, are essential, but when it comes to public transportation, they’re a huge hindrance for everyone. Bus, train, and subway passengers have to walk past or over the behemoth, while the parents themselves, in many cases, have to get the child out, set him or her down, and fold up the frame. In many cases, the hybrid model, in which a car seat is actually attached to the frame, is far helpful than standard and jogging strollers, but practically all urban parents can agree that these pieces of gear are a thorn in the side that just doesn’t go away.

In San Francisco, rules for strollers on public transit appear even stricter than in other parts of the country. It used to be that drivers could decide whether or not to let parents with children on the bus. Those admitted had to take the baby out first and then fold up the stroller.

As of March 1, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Association had a change of heart and, in response to parents’ complaints, introduced a new stroller policy. Parents now can bring strollers onto all public vehicles, except cable cars, and are even permitted to use the lift. The child, as well, can stay in the stroller, as long as he or she is strapped in, the wheels are locked, the vehicle isn’t crowded, and the stroller does not block the aisle. If the train is crowded, the driver can ask a passenger to fold up the stroller.

While the stroller itself is still cumbersome during a day out, at least with the new rules, parents will have less difficulty taking their child around town on errands.

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Study Correlates Smog Exposure With Lower Birth Weights

baby weight smog studyLow birth weights, often associated with premature babies, are a significant concern for parents. An international study published recently reveals that areas with higher concentrations of smog, or particulate pollution, are correlated with this risk.

Smog can originate from a vehicle, coal power plant, or similar source, but certain regions control and regulate it better than others. The published study involved analyzing data from 3 million births in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, with low birth weights constituting any child born under 5.5 pounds. Although there is no cause-and-effect relationship, the results found that children born in areas with higher concentrations of such pollution were more likely to have been underweight.

About the results, Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, stated: “What’s significant is that these are air-pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed. These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe.”

While the U.S. has tighter regulations regarding smog than other parts of the world, quickly-developing countries, such as China, do not have such standards in place. Also involved in the study, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain, stated about this concern: “From the perspective of world health, levels like this are obviously completely unsustainable.”

A long list of health concerns follow children born in this weight range. Although some end up healthy, others, early on, have greater risks of respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, patent ductus arteriosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and retinopathy of prematurity. Later on, children that survive are prone to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

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Baby Perfume: Good or Bad?

Dolce Gabbana baby perfumesLast week, news of a Dolce & Gabbana baby perfume set the blogosphere on fire. Such a product’s uselessness, marketing techniques, and safety were called out, but in writing about it, Forbes indicated that this typically-European item is part of a luxury baby products trend, one that grew 8.6 percent from 2000 to ’12 and is predicted to increase an additional 7.6 percent by 2016. Additionally, the magazine pointed out, Dolce & Gabbana isn’t the first to make baby perfume; Johnson & Johnson, Bulgari, and Burberry already have such products.

What does this scent smell like? Honey, citrus, and musk. According to marketing copy, the combination is meant to replicate and enhance a baby’s natural smell: “How can babies smell even sweeter than they already do? That familiar smell associated with babies that melts our hearts will only be accentuated by this Dolce&Gabbana fragrance.”

What’s next? Baby cosmetics to enhance a child’s already-delicate features?

Forbes goes onto highlight the concerns associated with baby perfumes, including a U.S. loophole that does not require fragrance manufacturers to disclose all ingredients. In several cases, according to a 2010, chemical DEP – associated with developmental issues – has been found in perfumes and scented products.

Blog Fashionista, in investigating this phenomenon, interviewed Frederick Bouchardy, the founder of Joya Perfumes. While explaining such products have already been around for several years in Europe, Bouchardy went onto say that adult’s and children’s scents are similarly-designed and meant for bonding: “I think it’s supposed to be a shared experience–mom and child are meant to smell the same.”

The only difference, at least when it comes to European products, is the use of alcohol; baby perfumes typically do not add it as an ingredient. Additionally, Bouchardy pointed out, several baby products already have fragrances included.

Where do you stand on the issue of baby perfume? Is it unnecessary, something parents should be concerned about, or an issue that’s not such a big deal?

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Fisher-Price Baby Seats Recalled for Mold

fisher price baby seat recallThe latest baby products to be recalled by the CPSC are baby seats from Fisher-Price. With the complaint and recall revealed on January 8, CPSC mentioned 800,000 seats purchased since September 2009 can possibly grow mold.

Since the seat came on the market, CPSC received 600 reports of mold on the Rock ‘N Play Infant Sleepers. Out of this amount, 16 children were treated for respiratory issues, such as coughing and hives.

Nevertheless, not all seats have developed mold, and parents are suggested to check under the cushions. As the CPSC pointed out in its report, mold may form between the cushions and the frame, particularly if the seat is wet or not cleaned regularly. Although other recalled products may have a replacement kit to order, parents have the option of contacting the manufacturer for cleaning instructions.

For parents looking for baby seats, keep in mind that the Rock ‘N Play Infant Sleepers are still in stores. Nevertheless, baby retailers often have several options for infant seats, be it for movement and activity, sleeping, or practice sitting up. From retailer Dada Baby Boutique, for instance, options for infant seats range from this Haba Airplane Swing to Moses baskets with stands.

Nevertheless, the Fisher-Price product is far from the only higher-profile baby seat to go through a recall over the past 12 months. As many parents can recall, Bumbo seats, a product designed to help children learn to sit up, has been called out by the CPSC on multiple occasions for fall hazards. Children have been able to slip out of the seats and fall; putting the seat on an elevated surface, such as a counter, table, or sofa, increases the chances of injuries.

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For Babies, Child Abuse is on the Rise

Shaken baby syndromeJust as lower U.S. birth rates were recently correlated with an unstable economy, rising cases of child abuse against infants may correspond with financial hardship. A recent study, done by Yale University and published this week, examines reports of child abuse from 1997 to 2009, finding that injuries to infants grew over this time. Such findings, however, contradict reports that child abuse, overall, is down.

Yale’s study looked at the status of children admitted to hospitals for serious injuries over these 12 years. 50 percent of those admitted were babies, with 30 to 40 percent of this amount having abusive head trauma, otherwise known as “shaken baby syndrome.” This amount led to an 11-percent increase during the past decade.

But, what about studies that show child abuse, overall, decreased 23 to 55 percent over the 2000s? While Yale looked at hospital visits, other studies examined child abuse reports filed with Child Protective Services and similar agencies. On the other hand, the doctor behind the Yale study points out, looking at CPS records likely doesn’t give a full picture of potential child abuse, as cases filed as “neglect” were not included in other studies’ figures. Dr. John Leventhal of Yale University told the press: “Maybe parents are doing better and hurting their children less in general, but there is a small group where there continue to be substantial injuries that end in hospitalization.”

As NBC News points out in their assessment, child abuse is an extreme concern, and in the U.S., 740,000 cases are treated in hospitals each use. The effects can hinder brain development in a child’s earlier years and have ramifications later on, including depression and heart disease once the child grows into an adult.

All studies, it appears, are only pulling from a select case of results. For child abuse to be examined on a greater scale, should another, more comprehensive study be done?

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