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NEWS

Keeping your new infant safe during a stressful time

By Kendall Shelly, MS, OTR/L, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit

2020 has been one of the most unexpected and stressful years we have ever encountered, especially if you recently had a baby.

Whether you are staying at home, binging every show on your favorite streaming service or traveling outside the house for fresh air, Good Shepherd Pediatrics has some helpful tips to ensure your infant is safe.

Safe sleeping reminders

Sleep is precious regardless of your infant’s age. In particular, it is vital to follow Safe Sleep guidelines for any infants under the age of 1.

According to the Academy of Pediatrics, safe sleep is used to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).To ensure your infant is following safe recommendations, provide your infant with their own place to sleep. This could be a bassinet, crib or a pack-and-play with a firm surface.

Whether traveling or at home, it is great to sleep in the same room as your infant. However, do not ever share a bed. Your infant should be placed alone on his/her back to sleep. He/she can have a fitted sheet and a pacifier (without an attached stuffed animal) in the designated safe sleep area.

Remove all bumpers, loose fitting sheets, stuffed animals, blankets and toys, which will help reduce the risk of suffocation.

Cool-weather clothing

As the seasons change and the weather cools, your infant may need to wear more clothing at night.

Swaddling your infant with his/her arms out (i.e. the “wings” of the swaddle below your infant’s armpits) is recommended. Do not use hats or headbands while your infant sleeps.

Always remember that “back is best” and place your infant on his/her back to sleep. According to Cribs for Kids, placing infants on their sides/stomachs could trap carbon dioxide when they exhale, which makes it harder for them to get clean oxygen. Also, sleeping on their backs decreases the risk of choking (or aspirating) if they spit up while sleeping.

If you have any questions regarding safe sleep or if you have any concerns, please speak to your pediatrician.

Strap them in safe

Car seat safety is important as you are getting ready to go pumpkin picking or to take some adorable “infant’s first” pictures.

When installing your car seat, always read the car seat and vehicle manuals. Together, these booklets will ensure your infant’s car seat is properly fitted in your vehicle. As convenient as some of the infant bundle/weather protectors are, please ensure you understand the possible risks associated with them.

Wearing a bulky coat/jacket/sweatshirt in the car seat also presents risks for your infant. Anything other than a thin layer of clothing that is placed behind your infant’s back can compress, resulting in your infant not being safely secured. Instead of having your infant in a coat while they are in their car seat, use a blanket or place the coat on backwards. If deciding to place the coat on backwards, please be aware of the hood positioning and prevent it from covering your infant’s face.

Any child in a 3- or 5-point harness should undergo the “pinch test” to make sure their car seat belt is tight enough. The pinch test is completed by running your index and thumb along the vertical path of the seat belt over your infant’s shoulder. If you can pinch any fabric, remember to tighten the belt until your fingers run smoothly without any excess fabric being pinched. If you are having a hard time installing your car seat or would like your car seat checked, you can call local police departments or search for car seat safety events in your community.

For more information on car seat safety, visit https://www.safekids.org/car-seat or https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats


To learn more about Good Shepherd Pediatrics, click here or call 1-888-44-REHAB.