Infant home safety issues are the minds of most new mothers. Did you know there were things that you can do before your baby even comes home to make the transition easier for you? You will be tired and overworked for those first few months as you adjust to the addition of a new bundle of joy to the household activities. Adding more things to your ‘to do’ list will only add stress to your otherwise stressful new life.
Before coming home you should make infant home safety preparations. Babies just don’t come with an instruction manual. You’ll need to rely on the advice of others such as a mother’s group, your friends, church groups and books. Infant home safety includes not only the physical environment but also the emotional and mental environment. You’ll be surprised how quickly your coping abilities deteriorate when you are exhausted and the baby just hasn’t stopped crying.
Make several meals ahead of time and put them in the freezer. You’ll be glad to pull a meal from the freezer and pop it in the oven when you are tired and worn out at 5 pm. Taking care of this new bundle of joy and cooking for the family may just put you over the edge.
Before the baby comes home be sure to wash all of the materials that the baby will be touching with hypoallergenic soaps. For instance all of the baby’s sheets, burp clothes, clothes, nursing bras, car seat covers, blankets and diapers.
If you are going to use bottles for either formula or water have them washed and ready according to the instructions of your doctor. Go shopping and have enough diapers and formula (if you are using formula) for the next several weeks. Shopping while you are tired is just no fun.
Purchase and install plug protectors in all of the plugs. Babies learn to sit, scoot and crawl faster than you anticipate. Use the time before you are sleep deprived to install infant home safety items.
The crib or sleep area should be padded safely using a bumper pad around the hard rails of the crib. This keeps young arms and hands from getting caught and pads the rails from head bumps in the night. Keep curtain cords away from the crib. Babies can get hands and fingers caught in the cords and later, as they are sitting, can get their necks caught in the cords.
If you have a cat at home consider a cat canopy infant home safety device over the crib so kitty can’t curl up next to warm sleeping baby and accidentally suffocate him. If you have a dog make plans to bring the baby home and introduce him to the dog to decrease the potential of jealously on the dog’s part.
All pediatricians now recommend that you nurse your young infant, at least for the first several weeks. This decreases the number of illnesses the baby experiences and improves the child’s immune system for protection later in life. Some researchers are also finding that babies who are nursed also have an increased IQ. If you are nursing begin thinking about changing your diet so it isn’t gas producing for the baby – don’t eat chocolate, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower)
Learn how to properly anchor the car seat and have it inspected before the baby is born. You’ll need a car seat that is properly anchored in the car before the hospital will release the baby in your care. If you aren’t sure if the car seat is anchored correctly call the fire department for instructions as to the closest facility that is currently doing car seat inspections.
A home is never accident proof. Your baby should always be supervised. As well as you think you have cleaned or installed infant home safety devices your child will find the one crack in your armor.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Infants and Toddlers Safety in the Home and Community
Massachusetts Health and Human services: Home safety for infants and Yound Children
Parenting: Infant Safety Hazards
Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Home Safety for Infants and Toddlers
BabyCenter: CHildproofing around the house