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Infant Safety

Car seat safety

  • Place the baby in a federally approved car safety seat at all times when riding in the car. This is a New Jersey State law.
  • Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the car seat and securing the infant.
  • Secure the car seat in the center of the rear seat, which is the safest place. Rear-facing infants should never ride in front of a passenger-side airbag.
  • Always secure an infant’s car seat in the back seat, in the rear-facing position, until they are at least 20 pounds and age one.
  • Remember to set a good example and keep yourself safe by wearing your seat belt whenever you are in the car.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car.

Sleep safety

  • Place your baby on his back to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that this is the safest sleeping position for babies.
  • Use sleep clothing such as a one-piece sleeper instead of a blanket.
  • Use a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and nothing else.
  • Be sure that nothing covers the baby’s face.
  • Don’t put soft objects such as pillows, bumpers or stuffed animals in the crib or under your baby.
  • Don’t place your baby to sleep on a surface not specifically designed for infant sleep (i.e. an adult bed, couch, chair, water bed, beanbag).
  • Never allow your baby to share a bed with you, your significant other or anyone else.
  • Make sure that your crib meets federal regulations for slat spacing. Slats should be no further apart than 2 and 3/8 inches.
  • Never leave your baby alone on a bed or changing table.
  • Even a small infant can unexpectedly roll over.
  • To avoid strangulation, place the baby’s crib away from drapery, mini-blinds, electrical and telephone cords.
  • Keep your baby in a smoke-free environment.
  • Offer a clean, dry pacifier at sleep time. If you breastfeed, wait until one month of age before offering a pacifier.
  • Do not let your baby overheat during sleep. 

Tummy-time safety

While you should place your baby on her back to sleep, your baby should also have tummy time. Beginning on your first day at home, play with your baby while she is awake and positioned on her tummy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends about two to three times each day for about three to five minutes each time to help her build strong muscles. You can increase the amount of time as the baby grows and shows that she enjoys tummy time. Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time.

Bath-time safety

  • Never leave your baby unattended while bathing.
  • Make sure that you have all of the bath supplies ready before you begin.
  • Turn your hot water heater down; a water heater set between 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the safest for preventing water from getting too hot.
  • Check the water temperature to make sure it’s comfortably warm, not hot, before putting your baby in the water.
  • Use plastic equipment; do not use glass as it could break and injure your baby.

Skin-to-skin safety

  • Do not fall asleep with your baby skin-to-skin.
  • Observe your baby’s breathing, color and tone.
  • Make sure your baby doesn’t fall or become trapped in bedding.
  • If you feel sleepy or are under the use of narcotics for pain following delivery, have your care partner at your side to assist.

Crying safety

Crying, including long bouts of inconsolable crying, is a normal development behavior in infants. It’s important for you understand that your baby may:

  • Cry more each week, the most at two months and then less from three to five months.
  • Cry and you may not always know why.
  • Not stop crying no matter what you do.
  • Look like he’s in pain even when he’s not.
  • Cry as much as five hours a day or more.
  • Cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

Other safety tips

  • Never shake your baby; shaking can cause damage to the baby’s brain and result in brain injury or even death.
  • Never hang a pacifier on a cord around your baby’s neck.
  • Never leave the baby unattended with pets.
  • Keep plastic bags and wraps away from your baby’s reach.
  • Don’t carry the baby in one hand and hot liquids or sharp objects in the other.
  • Learn infant CPR.
  • Make sure your house has working smoke detectors.
  • Virtua offers all new mothers screening for postpartum depression, as well as a postpartum adjustment information line and support group. Telephone support is available at 1-866-380-2229 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

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