Keeping your child safe can be done in many, many ways. After all, parenting isn’t a universal one-way approach, right?
But of course, there are still universal guidelines as to how you should protect your sweet little muffins. And that’s what we’ll walk you through today.
If you want to learn how to keep your baby safe to the fullest and see yourself as a responsible parent, this article is perfect for you.
General Tips and Guidelines for Infant Safety
Let’s start with a few tips and guidelines on how to keep your baby safe.
You may or may not have heard of these tips; however, it always helps to refresh your mind so your baby safety checklist checks all the boxes.
1. Never Leave Your Baby Alone
“Parents, never leave your baby alone.” How many times have you heard this?
This might just be the 37th time you’ve heard it from other parents, grandparents, and well…us included.
As obvious as this advice is, a lot of parents still take this for granted. You’ve heard of SIDS, right? As in…Sudden Death Infant Syndrome?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome usually happens because the baby was left alone. (More on this later)
Of course, it’s not the parent’s intention to leave their child unattended. But the takeaway of this advice is to keep your eyes peeled onto your toddlers… Every. Single. Minute.
REMEMBER: Babies are curious cats, especially in their toddler years, so they might just think they can jump off the bed and come out of that unscathed.
2. Can You Leave the House With a Newborn?
This topic sparks quite the controversy between new and veteran parents. Some say it’s okay, while others say it’s not okay.
New moms, we know how you feel.
But it’s not about who’s the better parent here. A lot of factors come into play when we’re talking about how to protect your baby or leaving the house.
Things like how the parents were raised by their grandparents, culture, beliefs, etc., all contribute to parenting decisions.
What we will say is it’s okay to leave the house with a newborn as long as YOU STRICTLY FOLLOW proper safety standards.
Some of these standards include:
- Dressing your baby such that they have clothing for the right temperature. For example, a hat is a MUST to keep your baby’s head cool in hot weather.
- Bring extra nappies, clothing, blankets, wipes, change pad, hand sanitizer, plastic bag for soiled diapers, and so on. With newborns, you never know what could happen. A weak immune system and their vulnerability to environmental pollutants are crucial considerations.
- Using a baby sling isn’t recommended in hot weather since this may cause infants to overheat.
See how EXTRA you have to be to keep your babies or infants safe? If this scares you, then we suggest keeping them safe at home for a few months before taking them outside.
Although, outdoor settings like your own garden or yard are perfectly fine.
Now, if you don’t know how long your child should stay at home after you’ve just given birth, we talk about that in the next section.
3. How Long Should a Newborn Stay Home After Birth?
There is NO set rule as to how long a newborn should stay at home after birth.
Some even take their babies out a day after being at home!
However, with the current rise of the pandemic (COVID-19), your doctor will most likely advise keeping your babies at home for a few months BEFORE taking them outside.
TAKE NOTE: Children under the age of 2 shouldn’t wear masks. Your doctor can explain this further; however, the general reason is it may cause children to suffocate due to limited breathing. Remember, your children are still developing at this age, so take extra precautions always.
4. Carrying Your Baby
No – DO NOT even think that you can throw your baby high up in the air. There are steps you should take when carrying your baby, especially newborns.
Your doctors can give you a full guide on how to do this, but the information below should give you a lot to work with:
- Wash your hands first. Come on, guys. This literally takes 10 to 15 seconds. How hard can this step be?
- Get into a comfortable position. If you aren’t physically comfortable, don’t you think your baby’s going to feel uncomfortable too? Breathe.
- Support your baby’s head AND neck. Any child or newborn will not have the critical neck muscle needed to support their heads on their own. This is where you – the responsible parent – must ensure you can confidently support the neck and head.
- Choose a position that’s comfortable for you and your baby. There are several positions you can choose, such as cradle hold, belly hold, lap hold, and shoulder hold. We’ll provide some images for you below to help you visualize each position better.
One of the best positions to hold your child for the first few several weeks
Useful if your baby is gassy or needs to burp properly
Useful for supporting your baby’s back, head, and body
Useful for helping your baby burp and if you want to hear their heartbeat
Do I Really Need to Wash My Hands Every Time I Carry My Child?
We know how “inconvenient” it might sound to wash your hands every single time, so allow us to share with you a story.
During the 18th century, a disease spread across Europe and eventually made its way to America.
The disease…was called puerperal fever. Also known as: The Black Death of Childbed.
What happened was that women were dying for an unknown reason 48 hours after giving birth. This lasted for nearly a century. And even some hospitals recorded 70% of women died after childbirth.
Seeing as how this was the 18th century – the Renaissance period, which was a time of science, doctors couldn’t figure out the reason why women all over were dying from this horrible disease.
So they conducted autopsies and studied corpses in the day and delivered babies in the afternoon yet, they couldn’t find the cause.
And then one day in the mid-1800s, a doctor by the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes discovered the problem. He told the doctors: Guys, you’re not washing your hands. You’re the problem.
And all the doctors called him crazy and neglected his advice…for 30 years.
Until finally, one person started washing their hands, along with sterilizing their equipment BEFORE delivering babies.
You can guess what came after that, right?
The Black Death of Childbed disappeared. Sometimes, all it takes to save the human race is to simply wash your hands.
And because babies have a weak immune system, washing your hands highly reduces the chances of your child getting an infection. Wouldn’t you agree?
5. Baby Toys Safety
Children between the ages 0 and 4 should ONLY use the following toys:
- Non-toxic art materials
- Washable stuffed toys
- Any toy made of fabric should at least be flame-resistant or flame retardant
- Crayons and paint should have the label: ASTM D-4236
- Paint used on any toy should be lead-free
If you thought that was a lot to put your baby’s health in its safest condition, there are even more guidelines you MUST follow:
- Any battery-operated toy should have a case secured using screws. This minimizes the chance your child might try to pry it open. Remember: batteries and battery fluid pose serious danger to your child’s health.
- Toys should have a measurement of at least 6 centimeters in length and 3 centimeters in diameter so your baby won’t accidentally swallow them.
- It’s not advisable to give children painted toys manufactured before 1978 since the paint may contain lead.
- If you happen to win a toy from a carnival or any vending machine, take note these toys do not always meet safety standards.
6. Baby Feeding Safety
When we’re talking about the risks of baby feeding, we aren’t just referring to toddlers.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any child under the age of 5 is considered high risk since they are more susceptible to infection and kidney failure.
Even worse – following improper food instructions or guidelines could increase the chances of food poisoning. And no parent ever wants that, right?
Follow these feeding safety guidelines if you don’t want to put your baby at risk of any infections or serious health cases:
#1 Proper Hygiene
As always, washing your hands is a crucial part of the parenting process. However, proper hygiene isn’t solely limited to keeping your hands clean.
This also means proper cleaning and sterilization for the following items:
- Feeding supplies
- Feeding utensils
- Sippy cups
- Breast pump parts
Always wash each of these in hot, soapy water, and then rinse thoroughly after.
#2 Foods You Should Avoid Feeding
The following foods are unsafe for your child:
- Raw and undercooked meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish
- Raw and undercooked eggs
- Any unpasteurized food – milk, dairy products, juice, and ciders
- Honey – any child under the age of 1 year/12 months should not eat honey due to the risk of botulism
- Raw sprouts
Other unsafe food that may risk choking include the following:
- Slippery food – grapes, berries, lollipops, cough drops, or any other whole small fruit. To minimize the risk, cut these up into tiny bite-sized pieces (less than 1/4-inch in size)
- Small, firm food – Dry flake cereal, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, cherry tomatoes, vegetable chunks
- Sticky food – caramel, marshmallows, gum, jelly beans, chunky peanut butter, taffy, dried fruits
Choking is a serious concern for babies, and it’s a risk you don’t want to take.
That being said, if you decide to feed your baby with meat or even hot dogs, for example, always make sure to cut the meat into at least 1/4 inch size.
Other vegetables with hard chunks or roots can be cooked to soften the vegetable and then chopped into tiny bite-sized pieces.
#3 Food Storage
You might be fine eating cold pizza, but for babies, it’s a health risk you should avoid altogether.
The best storage practice is to keep any food stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius.
Other practices you should also follow:
- Strained meats should ONLY be stored for one day. After that, don’t feed this to your baby.
- Strained fruits should be stored for 3 days.
- Unopened jars containing baby food have an average shelf-life similar to canned goods.
- Vegetable and meta combinations must be stored for 2 days.
#4 Is it Safe to Double Dip?
Double-dipping will contain bacteria that are harmful to your baby’s health.
We recommend scooping food from a jar with a clean spoon and transferring it into your baby’s bowl, then feeding them from there.
#5 Breastmilk Safety Guidelines
Here are some tips to remember when handling breastmilk and feeding it to your baby:
- Check the temperature of the breastmilk or formula. First, grab the bottle with the breastmilk or formula. Test 1 to 2 drops on your wrist to check if it’s too hot. The right temperature should be warm but not too hot. Furthermore, if it’s a little cold, that’s fine.
- Always mix your infant formula with a clean water source to keep your baby well-protected.
- If you have any breastmilk or formula that was already consumed and not refrigerated, discard it immediately after 1 hour.
- Any infant formula should be properly covered/sealed, refrigerated, and consumed within 48 hours.
- Never – and we repeat – EVER microwave breastmilk. The heating operation of a microwave results in uneven heating, which may put your baby at risk. Furthermore, this damages the milk. Instead, grab a basin and fill it with warm or hot water. Place the bottle in a standing position and wait for a few minutes. (no more than 10 minutes)
#6 How to Properly Feed Your Baby
Again, the most important part of feeding your baby is to ensure the bottle is sterilized.
That also means NOT REMOVING the protective top on the bottle, not until you’re about seconds or a minute away from feeding your baby.
Other useful practices include:
- Put your baby in a position where their head is much higher than the legs. This allows the milk to go down your baby’s throat comfortably.
- Elongate your baby in such a way their chest and stomach area don’t look scrunched.
- When feeding, keep your eyes focused on your baby at all times. It’s possible that if a parent is distracted while feeding their baby, they might not realize that the fluid level in the nipple is already down. That means your baby will end up gulping more air, resulting in more gas and crying.
For a full video demonstration on how to properly feed your baby along with the safety precautions, here’s a video to help you out:
7. Babies and Pets
It’s no surprise that a large majority of families will own pets, not to mention have them running around freely around children.
But what’s the safety around this? Is it okay for children to be around pets all the time?
The answer? It depends.
First off, always monitor and supervise children when they’re around pets to prevent possible injuries and trips to the hospital.
For example, the playful nature of babies could result in your baby playing with your dog while eating. Generally, we don’t advise babies or children to be near pets when eating.
Animals are simple creatures, and they might see this as a threat. This could eventually lead to bites and injuries where your children end up in a hospital.
Other guidelines to follow if you have pets at home include the following:
- Don’t allow your babies to touch their mouths after they’ve touched or played with your pets. Also, it’s not recommended for children to kiss animals due to the risk of infection they could possibly get.
- After your children come in contact with your pets, be it touching, handling, or feeding, wash their hands with soap right after to prevent the spread of germs.
- Although dogs are generally safe around children, some pets are not safe for children under the age of 5, such as frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, ducklings, hamsters, rats, snakes, gerbils, guinea pigs.
In case you want more information, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has information here.
8. Crawling, Walking, and Falling Safety
Straight to the point: Infant walkers are not the safest products. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics preferred that walkers not be used at all.
According to the journal Pediatrics, there were more than 230,000 reported cases of child injury. Most of these injuries were from children falling down the stairs while using a walker.
That’s not all.
Other possible related injury cases include grabbing dangerous objects (sharp objects or hot liquids), getting their fingers caught, and pulling objects down by themselves (if it’s a heavy object, this is a serious concern).
Now, if you do plan on still using a walker for your child, then you have to STRICTLY MONITOR your babies every single minute they’re on it.
Furthermore, walkers aren’t your only problem. The windows, door, your baby’s crib, and even your bed all pose some danger to your child.
Here are some guidelines you should follow:
- Install window guards to prevent your child from accidentally slipping or falling out of the window. If that seems like a lot of work, you can simply ensure that your baby’s crib, chair, and bed are far from the window.
- If you have a changing table, don’t leave your baby alone and unattended while they are on the changing table. If your husband calls you or someone is at the door, attend to your child first. Never THINK you can multitask especially when it comes to your babies.
- Stairways should always be clear of toys, belongings, or any object to prevent slipping.
- Install a safety gate in front of your child’s room and for the entrance to your stairs. Even though babies crawl or walk at a slower pace, that doesn’t mean they won’t somehow be able to reach the stairs.
- Don’t use accordion gates since babies can easily trap their heads in them if they’re not careful.
- All appliances and pieces of furniture should be sturdy enough so in case a child reaches for them, it won’t fall on their head or body.
- If there are any tables or furniture with sharp corners, install protective padding in the corners.
- Never use infant seats, bouncer seats, or child safety seats as a “chair” for your baby on your kitchen countertop or any piece of furniture. Your baby’s movements could propel the seat to the side and cause massive injury.
- Your baby’s changing table should always have guardrails to protect the baby from rolling over. If you use a bed instead of a changing table, keep them as far away from the edges and KEEP your eyes locked onto your baby.
These are just a few of the many guidelines parents should at least be aware of once their baby learns how to walk and crawl.
9. Outdoor Safety
For babies under 2 months old, things like sunblock and insect repellants aren’t recommended.
The American Academy of Dermatology advises parents to only use sunblock on children ABOVE the age of 6 months. For those under 6 months, you should dress your child in proper clothing such as long sleeves, a hat, pants, and sunglasses.
The reason for this is to keep your child in the shade or protected from the sun as much as possible.
REMEMBER: Your child’s skin is still undergoing development at this stage. That means they don’t respond well to the heat as well as fully-grown adults do.
Babies are also more susceptible to sunburn, so please take caution.
What about insect repellants? It’s already a given that mosquitoes and diseases like Lyme Disease or the Zika virus pose serious danger to your child.
And as much as we’ve been told to use repellants with DEET in them, the age also matters. Children under 2 months old should not use any insect repellant whatsoever.
If they are over 2 months old, go for insect repellants with 10% to 30% DEET.
Furthermore, stay away from insect repellant-sunscreen combo products. Although re-applying sunscreen is a must, insect repellants shouldn’t be re-applied.
We’ve also listed a couple more outdoor safety information for you below:
- Always check the play area first before allowing your child to go outdoors. Check for sharp objects, branches, equipment, tools, etc. If you plan to take your child to a public playground, do the same and inspect the slide, swings, and ground thoroughly for any object that could potentially harm your child.
- If your lawn or yard is close to a street, it’s encouraged to build a fence so your kids can run around safely without you having to worry about speedy cars, bicycles, etc.
- If you notice any electrical cords in the area, store them in their appropriate containers.
- Gas grills MUST be removed and kept in a safe area like a barn, shed, or workshop. Make sure to lock your barn, shed, or workshop as well.
- Check the temperature of the playground equipment, especially if it’s made of metal. If it receives direct sunlight throughout the morning and you let your little one use the slide in the afternoon, chances are, it could be too hot for your child’s skin which can cause rashes or even a burn.
The first few years of your child are the most critical. This is because their entire body, including their organs and immune system, is still developing.
This is why kids are more vulnerable to the sun than adults are, or why rashes, itches, and even germs are thrice as lethal compared to adults.
Toddler and Baby Safety at Home
In this section, we’ll list down the proper sleep guidelines for your little one along with things like your baby’s nursery, in case of a fire, and bathing time.
Safe Sleep Guidelines
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
According to Childrenshospital.org, about 2,300 babies in the U.S. die due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome every year. What are the risk factors? How can you prevent it? And who is at risk? We’ll dive into each question below:
In case this is your first time hearing it, SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is an unexplained, sudden death of a child below 1 year of age.
The word “Sudden” defines exactly what this syndrome is: Even with a thorough investigation, it’s difficult or impossible to accurately identify the main cause of SIDS.
However, being aware of these risk factors should help you prevent it:
- The sleeping surface is too soft.
- Premature/low weight babies
- Babies who sleep on their stomach rather than sleep on their back
- Any mother who smokes during their pregnancy or was exposed to secondhand smoke
Who is at the most risk?
Generally, any child under 12 months old is at risk; however, ages between 1 month to 6 months old usually carry the highest risk.
Another main cause is NOT ensuring your child sleeps on their back. When babies sleep face down on their tummy, they may re-inhale carbon dioxide. If this keeps up, babies will struggle to get more oxygen and breathe faster.
This is why it’s crucial to go beyond the use of baby monitors. (more on this later) Among other things, we’ll list down several ways to prevent SIDS from happening:
- Always place your baby on their back when they sleep
- Remove any stuffed toys or blankets when they’re asleep
- Check the room temperature of your baby’s room. It shouldn’t be too hot that your baby’s body might overheat
- Do regular checkups and see if your baby is lying on their back. It’s not wise to rely on baby monitors.
Now, some parents might believe in co-sleeping as a sound solution. As much as we appreciate the effort of doing so, co-sleeping also has its risks. There’s no telling what could happen.
If you’re the type of sleeper who moves a lot, this will place your child at an even greater risk. Co-sleeping may even cause suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.
As strange as it sounds, remember: Your baby’s body is highly fragile at this time.
Just sleeping on their tummy rather than their back already causes problems!
Resting your entire arm on your baby’s tummy might look cute, but because they can’t breathe as easily yet, this might even cause them to suffocate.
For proper crib safety, most of the guidelines we mentioned in the SIDS section also apply to the safety of your baby’s crib.
Here are some additional guidelines that apply to crib safety:
- You should use a firm, tight-fitting mattress for your crib
- Apart from not placing toys in your baby’s crib, it’s also recommended not to place quilts, bumper pads, and comforters in the crib while your baby is asleep.
- The crib should not have any loose screws, brackets, or any broken hardware.
- The crib slats should be no more than 2.3 inches of distance in-between slats.
This probably isn’t your first time hearing about baby monitors, right? Put simply, it’s a radio system that allows you to hear any sounds your baby makes.
So if they cry late at night and you’re in the next room, a baby monitor allows you to rush to comfort your baby’s cries.
But our biggest concern now is… “Are baby monitors safe?”
Think of it like this: Placing a baby monitor in your baby’s room is similar to placing a microwave in the room, too!
Before you start panicking, there are still a lot of ways to solve this. One such way is to get baby monitors with low radiation.
Generally, baby monitors with frequencies below 300 MHz are safe to use. Furthermore, placing the monitor at least 3 ft away from your baby reduces any danger of radiation.
And if you want safe baby monitors for your child, we’ve compiled 7 of the best safe baby monitors here!
Then again, it’s not wise to rely solely on a baby monitor. We recommend you’d rather place the crib in the same room as yours so you can easily monitor your child, especially when they’re under 1 year old.
Babyproofing Your Home and Nursery
Most parents might be surprised when they hear the word “babyproof.” A question that might be running in your head right now could be, “Is it Necessary?”
Allow us to throw back a question at you: “Wouldn’t you want to learn how to make your house more infant and child-friendly?”
On top of that, we’ve even outlined a baby proofing checklist here. Nevertheless, we’ll share a few of the most important places to start.
Prevent Baby Burns
The first place you should look at is your electrical outlets and cords.
As soon as your baby starts to crawl, they could easily reach for a cord, thinking it’s “safe” to nibble on. So always keep your babies out of reach or, at the very least, keep each and every cord in their proper containers.
For smaller spaces like condos or apartment units, places like your kitchen are dangerous unless baby-proofed.
Appliances like coffee machines, stoves, pots, etc., should all be kept in a safe place to keep these out of reach from your baby’s hands.
If you have space heaters, be sure to keep these out of reach too. Now, what about a vaporizer? Because of the rising trend of using vaporizers, it’s not uncommon to see families owning 1 or 2.
But with a baby in the picture, be sure to use ONLY cold vaporizers.
Prevent Baby Accidents
A serious and urgent topic to discuss when it comes to preventing baby accidents is falling.
As we mentioned earlier, infant walkers aren’t recommended since this allows babies to easily reach for appliances or things that may be hazardous or fall on your baby’s head.
Furthermore, walkers are one of the major contributing factors as to why children fall down from stairs.
Whether your child uses a walker or not, here are some crucial insights on how to prevent baby accidents and falls:
- Never leave your baby alone and unattended whether they’re in a playroom, playground, living room, or even in your bed!
- To ensure your baby doesn’t accidentally climb down the stairs, windows, bed, or crib, install stair gates, guardrails, and child-friendly window guards.
- Keep personal care products, medications, and cleaning solutions out of reach.
This also applies to homeowners who own electric kettles, gas grills, smokers, or any medium-to-large sized appliance that generate heat.
For grills, smokers, or kettles, always store these in their respective cabinets, or at the very least, away from children.
For your fireplace, we recommend installing the protective fireplace screens.
It’s important that your baby stays warm during the colder months of the year; however, keeping them safe is still your no. 1 priority.
If buying a childproof fireplace screen seems like it’s out of your budget for now, that’s okay! We have a guide on how to babyproof your fireplace, be it brick, hearth, or gas.
Corners of Furniture
If you remember correctly in our crawling, walking, and falling safety section, we mentioned adding protective padding to the corners of your furniture.
This holds especially true for kitchen countertops, large tables in your living room and kitchen, and any piece of furniture with sharp corners.
Using Baby Gates
Baby gates are an excellent solution to babyproofing your house, specifically for your baby’s crib, the bed, and stairs.
When choosing a baby gate, refrain from using pressure-mounted gates at the top of your staircase. It’s fine to use pressure-mounted gates at the bottom of your staircase, but NEVER at the top.
If you own any pets, using a safety gate is also helpful for separating the dog and your baby to reduce any chances of bacteria or germ infection.
We know what you’re thinking.
Great aesthetics. Decorations for your baby’s crib that match the room. However, aesthetics is as far as it goes.
Bumper pads were originally intended to solve previous crib designs because the slats were spaced far apart, leading to accidents like falls or your baby’s hand/head getting stuck in between.
Today, that is far from the case. In fact, these pads have been shown to increase the risk of strangulation, SIDS, and suffocation.
Think of these pads like a thick blanket or pillow that can impede your baby’s breathing if the bumper pad is right next to their mouth.
So what should you do? Sad to say, you should remove all of them. The safest route you can take is to not place anything at all. In case your little one gets cold, you can always opt for a onesie or a sleep sack.
Smoke and Fire Safety
You can never go wrong with installing a smoke alarm in every sleeping room area of your house. This is also why we mentioned to always check your electrical outlets.
Preferably, you should have a fire escape plan route just in case. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to conduct a regular fire safety inspection. A lot of fire stations offer free inspections!
Finally, remember to keep the space heater or any other heating appliance at least 3 feet away from any flammable object.
Baby Bathing Safety
The first rule of bathing: always check the temperature BEFORE giving your babies a bath. If you have a water heater, lukewarm temperature should be okay. The temperature of your bathroom should be 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Second, hold onto your baby firmly the entire time you’re giving them a bath. Soapy bodies are slippery. And finally, if you plan on using a bath seat, never leave your baby alone in the chair or the tub.
Babies can drown even in one inch of water, not to mention, they could easily fall and slip if the seat is slippery and wet.
For more important tips, we highly recommend checking out our Bathroom Babyproofing Guide.
Changing Table Safety
Much like bathing time, babies are prone to falls if you’re not careful.
Leaving them alone or even trying to grab something else while they’re on the table is BIG NO-NO. Or, you can install a safety strap to keep them locked and pinned.
If there are any hazardous items near the table, remove these immediately. And finally, ensure that the table is sturdy. If it wobbles, please get it fixed or don’t even consider using it.
You can even go for models with raised sides to prevent any roll-off action your baby might make.
Amidst a global pandemic, families should take into account any contact made with their baby.
And that means, if you go out, you should always shower first BEFORE holding your baby, let alone visit their room.
In times like these, it may not even be advisable to bring your baby outdoors. Due to their low immune system, it’s not worth taking the chance of any airborne disease, including COVID infecting their bodies.
Remember: children below 2 years old CANNOT wear masks since this may lead to suffocation.
Finally…sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize.
Cleaning your tables, doorknobs, doors, rooms, cellphones, mats, etc., are a MUST!
Child Safety in the Car
Why Are Car Seats Important?
Car seats aren’t just important. They’re required by law in every U.S. state.
The reason why a car seat is important is: Using a car seat is the safest option to protect your baby and prevent death or injury from car crashes.
However, choosing the right car seat also matters, which we’ll discuss in the next section below.
Safety First: Investing in a Good Infant Car Seat
All infants should use a rear-facing car seat. To be more specific, all toddlers should start with a rear-facing car seat as their first ride starting from the hospital to your house.
Choosing a proper safety car seat should follow these guidelines:
- All car seats should meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 213.
- The car seat should match your baby’s height and weight. Before using it, learn how to install the seat and how to use the harness.
- If you buy a secondhand car seat, make sure there are no missing parts. Preferably, it’s not a wise decision to go for secondhand products.
- Always buy an baby-safe booster seat. That means it should be free of any chemical flame retardants.
Finally, you might have heard there are different types of car seats. There are 3 types available in the market, so choose the type that fits your baby:
- Rear-facing only – Used for toddlers that weigh between 22 to 35 pounds. These also have carrying handles along with a base you can leave in the car. Furthermore, these should only be used for travel SOLELY.
- Convertible – Most have weight limits between 40 to 50 pounds. This is an ideal choice for bigger toddlers or infants, or if you want a seat you can use in the future for future-facing for older kids. Convertible types also come with a 5-point harness you can attach to your baby’s shoulder, legs, and hips.
- All-in-one – An all-in-one is also ideal for bigger toddlers or infants. Because they’re also bigger than most types, make sure you can fit them in your car beforehand. What sets this apart from a convertible type is that an all-in-one type can be used for forward-facing, rear-facing, and as a belt-positioning booster.
How Soon Can You Travel With a Newborn By Car?
Now that you know the importance of a car safety seat, let’s dive into another common concern: “How soon can you travel with a newborn by car?”
And the answer is…there are no hard-fast rules on when your newborn can travel by car. After all, your newborn already rides in a car from the hospital to your house, right?
However, there are still a few things to keep in mind.
- For one, it’s best to do trial-run trips. This allows you to understand what you should pack along with any things or resources you might need for longer trips later on.
- Another factor to keep in mind is to coincide trips with your baby’s sleeping time. It’s easier for you to focus on the road while mommy takes care of your newborn.
- And sorry to say – but you might just have to sacrifice your Spotify playlist for the meantime. It’s always a great idea to bring comforting sounds so your newborn doesn’t get fussy or uncomfortable.
Now, what about how soon your baby can travel long distances by car?
The safest would be at least 3 months old. Then again, this is why we recommend doing trial-run/practice trips to get a better feel of how to take care of your newborn during trips.
Remember: long-distance trips also mean more – or even – heavy traffic. When factors like these come into play, it’s absolutely crucial to do trial-run trips to better prepare yourselves in the future.
Why Is Infant Safety So Important?
Parenting is a constant learning process. And even a lot of practices that may seem obvious at first don’t mean it’s safe or recommended by doctors.
Take walkers, for instance. Who would’ve thought these items would be unsafe for newborns later on? In fact, Canada even bans the use of these!
Or even things like SIDS, where a newborn sleeping with their tummy face-down carries a high risk for death or suffocation. Let alone, a bumper pad and even sheepskin blankets are harmful to newborns.
Just mentioning a few of these risks clearly shows the importance of protecting our newborns. It’s safe to assume that just about anything can harm your newborn.
Even holding and carrying them has to be done properly. That being said, we hope this guide serves you well in keeping your newborns safe.
Why Is Safety Important in Early Childhood?
Think of early childhood like a young or baby leaf: Strong winds can easily sweep it away, a simple force could break it apart, and environmental factors like the sun or rain are much more deadly.
During the early stages or years of your newborn, their bones are fragile, their vision is developing, it takes roughly 9 to 18 months before your baby’s skull is fully developed, and one fall can lead to serious injury or worse – death.
This is not meant to scare you.
It’s meant to educate you about the fragility of your newborns during their first few years. That’s why we have to be responsible enough to look after them 24/7.
One fatal mistake could spell years of complications later on. Safety couldn’t be any less of a priority, especially during this time.
Before you go, remember that parenting is a constant learning process. There’s no need for perfection here.
What matters is continually educating yourselves and applying the safest practices for your child’s overall wellbeing and growth.