Carmel Blue New baby Safety tips – Some helpful guide lines for baby gear and accident prevention

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Carmel Blue New baby Safety tips –
Some helpful guide lines for baby gear and accident prevention

  • Setting up the nursery: Before you start shopping – here are some tips to know what to look for:

Changing table:
* A flat changing surface should be surrounded on all four sides by a guardrail, which should be at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) in height.
*The table should have shelves or compartments for storing everything you'll need. This prevents you from taking your eyes off your baby while you look for that hard-to-find item.
* A Sturdy table is important so that there is no risk of the table toppling over when laying baby down to change and for later when babies like to pull themselves up on furniture.
* The changing table should have raised sides and a secured changing pad. They should also have straps that you can use to secure baby down in case you need to step away. Once the baby is able to roll over the straps are not really effective.
Prevent accidents: Never leave your baby unattended on the changing table: Even when they are very young and barely moving, even when they are asleep, even when you just need to grab something from the other side of the room.

* Side rails should be fixed and not adjustable. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale of adjustable side rails for safety reasons just last year. Do not purchase or accept a used crib with an adjustable side rail.
* The distance between slats must be no more than 2-3/8 inches (6 centimeters) to protect infants from falling out and toddlers from trapping their heads between the slats.
* If the crib has corner posts, they must be either flush with the top of the headboard and footboard or very tall — over 16 inches (41 centimeters). Anything in between is a potential strangulation hazard.
* Get the firmest mattress you can find. Don't rely on manufacturers' labels — test it yourself. This is extremely important because soft mattresses may play a role in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
* Be sure that the mattress fits snugly in the crib. This keeps a baby from slipping in between the mattress and the crib sides. Buy a mattress pad that fits tightly and make sure that the plastic mattress packaging has been removed.
* Evaluate a used crib with extra care. There may be too much space between slats, or elaborate cut-outs in the headboard and footboard that can trap a baby's head. A crib made before 1978 may have a finish that contains lead, so a crib that has been in the family for generations may not be the best one to use!

P.S. The latest innovation that I have seen in products in response to the new regulation of fixed sides of the crib is a bed that lowers and raises the mattress by the press of a button. This is in consideration of how difficult it can be on your back to lower a baby into their crib especially once they sit up and you need to adjust the mattress to the lower setting.

Prevent Accidents:
*Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep,
*Check all screws and hardware regularly and tighten them if necessary.
*To prevent suffocation, never place soft bedding or soft toys (blankets, fluffy comforters, pillows, plush toys) in your baby's crib.
*Although bumper pads have been widely used, their safety has been questioned. One study, using data from the CPSC, found a number of accidental deaths appeared to be related to the use of bumper pads in cribs and bassinets. Pediatric organizations strongly discourage the use of bumper pads in cribs to avoid accidental suffocation. (see below alternative)
*Once your baby starts to pull up, remove crib gyms and mobiles to prevent entanglement. If you have bumper pads in the crib, remove them when your baby starts to stand so they cannot be used to help climb out of the crib.
*Never place a crib near a window or drapes, because your baby can become entangled in window blind and drape cords. Remove bibs and necklaces when your baby is in the crib. Do not hang toys by strings.

P.S. By 4 months babies are usually moved into the crib and sleeping habits are established. Sleep experts will advise you to keep the Crib as bare as possible – not only due to risk of SIDS but also to make sure have you established the bed as a place for sleep rather than for a place for play: No blankets, no stuffed toys or pillows, not even mobiles. In lieu of traditional padded bumpers use a mesh bumper that will help prevent baby’s hands, feet or head from getting stuck in the slats.

Infant Seats

Infant seats should not be confused with infant safety seats (car seats). Regular infant seats simply allow young babies to sit up. They're not designed to protect a baby in a crash and should never be used to transport infants. Some child safety seats, however, can double as infant seats.

What to look for:
The base should be wider than the seat, and locking mechanisms should be secure. Push down on the unit to make sure it is sturdy.
The base should feature nonskid surfacing to prevent the seat from moving on a smooth surface.
The seat belt should be secure and the fabric should be washable.

Prevent Accidents:

* Never place your baby in an infant seat on a table or other elevated surface from which your child could fall, or on the washing machine or any other vibrating surface (the vibrations could cause the seat to move and fall).
*Use the seat belt every time you place your baby in the seat.
*Avoid placing the seat on soft surfaces such as beds or sofas because it may tip over and the baby could suffocate.

Child Safety Seats (Car Seats)

More children are seriously injured or killed in auto accidents than in any other type of accident. Using a child safety seat is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car.

Never substitute any type of infant seat for a child safety seat. Only child safety seats — properly installed in the back seat — are designed to protect a child from injury during a car accident.

What to look for:
*Choose a seat with a label that states it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
*Accept a used seat with caution. Never accept a seat that's more than 6 years old or one that was in a crash (even if it looks OK, it could be structurally unsound). Avoid seats that are missing parts or are not labeled with the manufacture date and model number (you'll have no way to know about recalls). Also, check the seat for the manufacturers recommended "expiration date." If you have any doubts about the seat's history, or if it is cracked or shows signs of wear and tear, don't use it.
*Be sure that the seat you choose fits your child — a smaller baby can slip out of a seat that's too large. For Newborns there are special body and head padding to help fit the car seat to the baby’s size and also to hold their head and body in place with our slumping.
*Consider choosing a seat that's upholstered in fabric — it may be more comfortable for your child.

SAFETY NOTES: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
Once kids are ready to transition to a forward-facing seat, they should be harnessed in until they reach the maximum weight or height for that seat. When they have outgrown their forward-facing harnessed seat, they need to be placed in a booster seat.
For more information on proper installation of child safety seats and how to harness your child, You also can call the Department of Transportation Auto Safety Hotline — (888) DASH-2-DOT.
See additional grid that demonstrates the different stages and different car seats that go for each stage.

P.S. One of our least liked popular baby products: The “Excer-saucer” or similar walkers. These are devices that use a wheeled frame and suspended seat to allow babies to propel themselves using their feet. There are many reasons to avoid them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages the use of walkers because of the risk of serious injuries.

Why you should avoid Exer-saucer walkers:
* It is estimated that more children are injured in baby walkers than in any other infant product.
* Babies in walkers can fall over objects and can roll into hot stoves, pools, and heaters.
* Most kids younger than 15 months who sustain injuries from infant walkers are injured when falling down stairs.
* Gates at the top of stairs do not prevent falls and even the best adult supervision doesn't guarantee that these falls won't happen.
* Research shows that walkers do not provide any advantage to a child's development. Walkers do not teach infants to walk or enable them to walk sooner than they would without one. Walkers also may deny infants the necessary opportunities for pulling up, creeping, and crawling.
* A stationary activity center is a better choice than an infant walker. It provides many activities to stimulate babies while keeping them safe.

Baby Carriers AKA Baby wearing

We recommend investing in 2 carriers for the duration of your child’s “carrying days”.

New born Carrier – Ideally this is one of the wraps like a “Moby”. These wraps are made of cotton (or organic cotton) and the way you wrap the baby in them resembles for them the calming experience of being in the womb. They usually fall sound asleep in them and they can be work in the house as well as outside, worn by mom or by dad.
These go a very long way in helping your baby transition from the womb into this new world they are experiencing.
Hip belt Carrier – By the time your baby is 3-4 months they are usually ready to “graduate” from the sheltering experience of the Moby and into a carrier that gives them more visibility of the outside world. Usually by this time your baby has doubled in weight and size and you need more support for your body to carry them comfortably. Hence the hip belt. These carriers should see you all the way to 35-40 Lbs (aprox. 3 yrs) which is more than you will want to carry your baby. This carrier should offer the position of carrying your baby in the front (in both facing you and front facing), as well as carrying your toddler on your back. Most of them also offer a hip carry position as well.

CB tip: Avoid the Bjorn. They offer little support for the baby and I see many neck and shoulder injuries as well as back pain especially for moms using the Bjorn as their baby gets bigger.
Carrier Du Jour is the Beco Gemini. We love the Cybex 2.GO also. Come in for a demo.

Allergies: While many babies may not inherit their parents’ allergies, It is often difficult to find out if they do. Exposing your child to allergens should be done with Pediatric supervision and preparation. Babies should not be exposed to common allergen foods such as peanuts, strawberries, dairy etc’ till after they are one year old.
Also avoid giving an infant under the age of 1 honey – it can contain bacteria that are not suitable for their young age.

Our Favorite Tips for new parents:
*For any tasks you are doing that involves your baby – prepare the space and the things you need ahead of time. Arrive to the changing table, breastfeeding station, crib or bassinette etc’ with everything you will need ready. Even if your baby is crying loudly, take your time to get yourself organized and prepared before starting a task.

*Strategically place blankets, wipes, burpees, distraction toys throughout the house in case you need them urgently

*Always have water/snacks available at your favorite place to breastfeed.

*When getting ready to leave the house – place your baby in the carrier/car seat/stroller as the very last thing you do before you step out.

* Try to get out of the house and engage with other friendly adults daily ; )

Living in San Francisco:

  1. Make sure your stroller comes with an attached leash or purchase one. Most neighborhoods in SF have some if not many extreme up hills and down hills. Any outing with your baby may make you feel vulnerable, especially at first. The leash is really just an added measure to re-assure you that if for any reason you lost hold of the stroller, your baby will not go rolling down that hill. (I cannot tell you how many visitors come in to Carmel Blue asking me for leashes for their stroller)

  2. Stairs – walking around the city or leading into your house – SF homes are blessed/cursed with many stairs. This can make it additionally challenging when leaving the house with the baby, bags and stroller. Try to find a way to park the stroller at street level in a sheltered place. If it is a communal garage – invest in a stroller or bicycle lock. Consider leaving the house with a carrier rather than a stroller (see next item)
    Also note - Once your baby starts crawling you will need gates at the top or at the bottom (or sometimes both) of the stairs. The time you will need to start baby proofing your house is once your baby starts crawling. For most babies that can be between 6-9 months.

  3. SF is a great place for a stroll. Consider a baby carrier over a stroller. Much research has been done to prove that there are many benefits to carrying your baby on your body rather than in a car seat. Our favorite new born carrier is a wrap that as far as the baby is concerned feels like the safety and familiarity of the womb. Ask us for more details about difference in carriers. We recommend owning 2 types of carriers: the two of them will see you from when baby is born and till they are 35 Lbs.

  4. Lead paint – many SF houses are older and have lead paint. There should be a section in your housing agreement specifying whether your home does or does not. More often than not in SF homes have lead paint.

    Should you be concerned? Unfortunately yes. Ingesting lead paint or its dust can be extremely harmful, and small children – thanks to their tendency to put, oh, anything in their mouths – are especially at risk. Years ago, lead was added to paint to make it last longer. Paint made before World War II has the highest levels. In the 1950s, when experts started realizing the danger of lead, the amount in paint was reduced. Then, in 1978, lead paint was banned entirely from residential use. So, if your home was built before 1978, take special care.

    First, get any flaking or peeling paint sealed or removed by a professional. (This goes for any paint, whether or not it’s lead based. You never know what’s under that first layer… and even if it’s not lead, baby still shouldn’t ingest it.) You can test your home for lead on your own -- Home Depot sells kits -- or, if you’re especially concerned, call your local Department of Health to find official laboratories that will do the evaluating for you. And, depending on your area, your landlord could be required to pay for elimination of the risk. The Department of Health can also give you info on this.

  5. Most windows in SF do not have bars. If you plan to open the window – always open it to a size smaller than baby’s head. This is true for many years of child rearing.

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