Summer is here, bringing the promise of popsicles, fireworks and pretty awesome pedicure colors. It also brings the heat, turning your car into hot box in the scorching parking lot. New moms are, more often than not, overtired, distracted, and burdened with baby paraphernalia. Even the very best moms can forget a sleeping child in the backseat, and heatstroke can affect a baby within minutes. Here are a the top 7 hot weather car safety tips to prevent it.
- Look before you lock. Before locking up, open the back door and make sure it’s empty.
- Bag with baby. Make a habit to put your purse, baby bag or briefcase in the backseat when you strap your baby into their car seat. Loop your bag through the opposite seatbelt in the back to secure it in place.
- Use a plush placeholder. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat, and strap it into the passenger seat up front when the baby is in the seat.
- Always lock the doors. Curious kids climb into anywhere they can fit – and cars have lot of fun buttons. Garage, driveway, or street parked – it doesn’t matter. Lock it up.
- Keep keys out of reach. Make sure those doors stay locked.
- Plan with childcare providers. Ask your daycare to call you if your child does not show up without prior notice.
- If you see something, do something. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
For more information, please visit kidsandcars.org. For more summer safety tips with babies, see our post!
I am the mother of three summer babies and live by the ocean, so my babies went to the beach. It is usually cooler at the beach, especially at low tide, so it was a great place to spend part of the day amongst the soothing sounds of the sea. Here are my tips to keeping your babies safe at the seaside!
- Invest in a good quality beach tent with SPF protection. I like the three-sided ones with pouches along bottom that you fill with sand or rocks to hold it down, in addition to stakes that come with it. Make certain there are vents for air flow because it makes a big difference! Aim the solid side towards the sun to provide the most shade, and you may need to adjust the angle of the tent during the day. My tent was big enough for me to sit under while I nursed, room to change baby, for their seat or to spread a towel out for tummy time. Make certain to keep babies out of direct sunlight, and remember, babies under six months can’t wear sunscreen.
- Dress the baby in lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing. Don’t forget a sun hat, preferably one that ties and covers the backs of their neck.
- A mosquito net is also a good investment to use in your yard, on the beach, or out on walks. Very fine netting with elastic around the edges can go around a seat or the stroller.
- Concerned about AC or a lack thereof? Generally, your baby needs one more layer of clothing than you do. When in doubt, check their temperature with an axillary thermometer, and it should register in the 98 degree range.
- Snuggling or nursing babies can get pretty sweaty in the summer. You may want to consider giving the baby a bath as part of your daily routine. Sprinkle a little corn starch on your palm, and then rub it on baby. Avoid talc, and spraying the cornstarch in the air which can get into your baby’s lungs.
- Consider wearing your baby and both of you can enjoy a walk in the fresh air.
- If possible, try to head to the beach earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is less strong.
Moms, do not forget yourselves! You do need to wear sunscreen, and make certain to pack lots of cold drinks and food for you. It is easy to get caught up in what the baby needs and forget about yourself!
- Relax and enjoy the summer with your little one!
Looking for more information? Check out our Boston-area newborn care classes!
Every parent’s number one goal is to keep their baby safe! So, of course, many of you devoted parents of newborns were quite upset this week due to an overwhelming number of scary headlines that followed the publication of a new study “Swaddling and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A Meta-analysis”. Pediatrics (May 2016).
“Swaddling babies may increase risk of SIDS,” the headlines blared. Some readers latched on and panicked. But the analysis emphasizes a more nuanced conclusion that supports what many parents and pediatricians already know about safe sleep for newborns.
To quote the study’s conclusion: “Despite the limitations, these analyses indicate that the current advice to avoid placing infants on their front or side to sleep may especially apply to infants who are swaddled. Given the marked increase in infants swaddled and found prone (rather than placed prone), coupled with an increased risk of swaddling with increased age regardless of sleeping position, health professionals and current guidelines should consider an appropriate age limit at which swaddling should be discouraged.”
Put another way, stick to current advice not to place infants to sleep on their stomachs or sides, and stop swaddling as your baby grows, probably around the time he or she shows signs of rolling or begins to break out of this fabric cocoon.
- American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for Safe Infant Sleep:
Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
- Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
- Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
- Wedges and positioners should not be used.
- Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
- Breastfeeding is recommended.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
Learn more on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ original article, “AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction.”
Remember if you still have concerns or want further guidance call your baby’s health care provider, take a Newborn Care Class, and take an infant and child CPR class.