With winter upon us, you may be tempted to wrap and bundle your baby in several layers of clothing and blankets. But, it’s important not to overheat baby. A general rule is to dress your baby in just one more layer than what you are wearing in the same conditions. When putting your little one down to sleep, these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics can keep her warm and safe:
- Dress baby in a one-piece sleeper or sleeping sack and place her on her back in crib
- Keep crib away from drafty windows
- Set the thermostat in your house at a comfortable temperature
- Keep crib free of bulky blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, quilts, bumpers or anything that could get over her face
As for keeping your baby warm in the car, it’s best to dress her in thin, snug layers rather than a bulky coat or snowsuit that can leave extra space under the car seat harness. Once buckled in, place a blanket or her coat over the harness. Remember a hat and cover tiny hands and feet with mittens, socks and booties. When not in use, keep the carrier part of the car set in the house at room temperature.
You’ve likely heard the advice, “Never wake a sleeping baby,” but it’s best to ignore this old adage during baby’s first couple weeks of life. Breast-fed babies need to feed at least every 2-3 hours, and formula-fed babies need to eat at least every 3-4 hours. While older babies usually don’t miss meals, infants can be very sleepy and difficult to wake for feeds. These tips can help you gently wake your newborn:
- Undress him to his diaper and place him skin to skin
- Gently stroke his back or rub his feet and hands
- Dim the lights so he can open his eyes
- Hold him upright and softly talk to him
If he still doesn’t wake, try again in a half hour or so, as newborns move in and out of sleep states rather quickly. This sleepy stage is usually short-lived, but it’s important to keep an eye on your little one’s output to ensure he is having adequate wet and dirty diapers and is gaining weight.
Children of all ages love beach days or play dates at the pool. But, be aware that drownings are a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Here are a few tips to help keep your little one safe when in or around water:
- Practice “touch supervision” with children under age 5 – always be within an arm’s length with full attention on child
- Never leave child alone even for a minute when in water, including a bathtub
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Keep a life jacket, shepherd’s crook or safety ring with rope at poolside
- Install a four-sided, self-latching fence around home pool
- Install an underwater motion swimming pool alarm or have your child wear an alarm that attaches to their wrist like a wristwatch
- Teach children to wear life jackets when on boats, docks or near bodies of water
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says there is no evidence that swimming lessons prevent drownings in babies younger than age 1, but older babies may be at less risk if they have had some formal instruction.