1. Child Car Safety. When your child leaves the hospital, his or her first ride should be a safe ride in a car seat. If you need help in selecting a proper car seat for your child, call our office during regular office hours. The car seat should be a convertible safety seat, which is positioned reclined and set in the rear-facing position. By the time a child is two years of age, the car seat may be faced forward. A child should remain in a car seat until the child is approximately 40 pounds or about four years of age at which time a booster seat is needed. See our car seat guide on the back page of this handbook. Please be aware that automobile seats equipped with air-bags are very dangerous for small infants and young children. There are reports of infant deaths from air-bags which deployed in minor traffic accidents in which there should have been no injuries. For this reason, your child’s car safety seat should never be placed in an automobile seat equipped with an air-bag. The infant car seat should always be placed in the back seat of the automobile and secured with seat belts.
  2. Infants should sleep on their back to lessen the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sleeping on an infant’s stomach or side is not recommended because of the risk of sudden unexpected death. Contrary to wide belief, infants sleeping on their back are not in danger of choking. Infant wedges designed to keep babies on their sides during sleep are not recommended. We do recommend some daily “tummy time” for your infant while your infant is awake and in your direct supervision. Placing your child on his stomach and then interacting with your child will help to strengthen your baby’s neck muscles. It is possible that these interactions may help prevent sudden infant death. We do want you to be aware that it is dangerous for your child who is less than six months old to sleep on their stomach (prone position) when they are accustomed to sleeping on their backs. Death may result from such positioning. Grandparents should be warned about this. There have been major changes in sleep position recommendations by pediatricians across the years. This is a crucial fact for parents to know.
  3. Crib Safety. Crib side rails should always be kept up when the infant is unattended. Crib bumpers are no longer recommended. The distance between crib slats should be less than 2-3/8 inches. You should avoid mobiles and toys with long strings, cradle gyms that are not securely suspended and small objects in the crib.
  4. Never leave your infant alone with young siblings or pets.
  5. Your water heater thermostat should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less. This is a little below the normal setting. You should be able to hold your hand momentarily under the faucet with the hot water on without scalding.
  6. Never leave your infant alone on a bed or other surface from which he/she may roll off.
  7. Never leave your infant alone in a house or a car unattended.
  8. Do not shake or jiggle your baby’s head. Severe brain bleeding and brain damage including death may result from shaking your baby. The “shaken baby syndrome” is a well recognized form of child abuse.
  9. Baby-sitters should be carefully selected.
  10. Infant jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, rings or other types of jewelry are not recommended. These items can catch on various objects and injure or even kill your child.
  11. Do not drink hot liquids or smoke cigarettes while holding your child because you could burn your child.
  12. Do not use an infant feeder to feed your child baby food or semisolid food because of the risk of choking and aspiration of food into the trachea with the use of this device.
  13. As your baby rests and sleeps on their back, make sure to change the position of your baby’s head to minimize flattening of the back of the skull.  Rest assured however, even fairly severe flattening of the skull in an infant will resolve on it’s own.  We generally do not recommend helmets for this.
  14. Because of the risk of sunburn, babies less than six months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight for any length of time. Keep your baby in the shade while outside.  Sunscreens are not recommended for babies until they reach the age of six months.
  15. We recommend that babies and young children under the age of two years, have no or very limited exposure to electronic devices with screens, such as TV’s, computers, cell phones, ipads, tablets and video games.  Screens emit blue light waves which have a short wave length and more energy in them than other visible light waves. They may actually be damaging to a young child.  In addition, studies show that elevated screen time exposure in young children is associated the development of certain psychiatric conditions.  Thus, screen time in babies should be very limited.
  16. Young infants and children need immunizations to prevent serious infectious diseases.  Please see our recommended immunization and check up schedule.
Reviewed by Dr. Byrum on 3/22/2017