If you are going to be using a used car seat, make sure to research the seats history. Things to check for is if it comes with instructions and a label showing the manufacturer, if it has been recalled, if it is more than six years old, if it has no visible damage or missing parts, and if it has never been in a moderate or severe crash. If you don’t know the history, don’t use it.
Properly placing the car seat is vital. The safest place for your child’s car seat is in the back seat, away from active air bags. A child who rides forward facing in a car seat can also be harmed by air bags. If only one seat is being installed in the back seat, place it in the middle, rather than next to a door to minimize the risk of injury during a crash.
Do not use your car seat as a place for your child to sleep at home. Studies have shown that sitting upright in a car seat too often might compress a newborn’s chest and lead to lower levels of oxygen. Sitting in a car seat for lengthy periods of time can also cause the development of a flat spot on the back of the head, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Correctly buckling your child in a car seat is also very important. Be sure to read the car seat instructions and the vehicle’s owner’s manual section on car seats. The car seat should not move more than one inch when moved from side to side.
Keep your child rear facing as long as possible. Riding rear faced is recommended until the child reaches the age of 2, or 35 pounds.
Insect Repellents and Your Kids
- Chemical repellents with DEET: Considered the best defense against biting insects. It works for about 2 to 5 hours. Caution should be used when applying DEET repellent to children.
- Picaridin and essential oil repellents: Works for about 3 to 8 hours. Still needs more studies to show how well it repels ticks. Since it is made from essential oils, allergic reactions can occur.
- Chemical repellents with permethrin: A repellent that kills ticks on contact. Survives several washings and should only be applied on clothing.
- Non-effective repellents: Wristbands with chemical repellents, garlic or vitamin B1 taken by mouth, ultrasonic devices that give off sound, bird or bat houses, and backyard bug zappers.
How to Use Repellents Safely
- Read the label and follow the directions
- Only apply the repellent outside of clothing and on exposed skin
- Spray in an open area
- Use only enough to cover your child’s clothing and exposed skin
- An adult should always apply insect repellent on your child
- Wash your child with soap and water to remove the repellent when your child returns indoors
- Dressing your child in thin, loose-fitting, long-sleeve clothing that doesn't include bright colors
- Encouraging your child to wear socks and shoes instead of sandals
- Avoiding spending time outdoors during the evening to early morning hours (dusk to dawn). This is when mosquitoes tend to bite the most
- Avoiding scented soaps and other things that might attract mosquitoes and other bugs
- Using a bug screen over your child's stroller
- Controlling mosquitoes and other insects where your child plays
- Carefully inspect your playground equipment. It is recommended that you have a proper shock-absorbing surface underneath your playground. Also, be sure that the play set is properly anchored to the ground, that surfaces are smooth, that there are no protruding bolts and that all “S” shaped hooks are closed all of the way.
- If you have a sandbox for your child, you will want to line it with landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing up and to simplify water drainage. Covering the sandbox is also a good idea in order to keep pets and rodents, as well as their droppings, out of the sandbox.
- Be sure all landscape supplies and equipment are stored and secured in a locked shed.
- Pools are vital when it comes to backyard safety. Be sure your pool is properly barricaded. Install a fence that is at least four feet tall and make sure there are no weak areas that your child can squeeze through. The gate to the pool should also have a self-locking mechanism so that your child cannot open it. Pool alarms can be purchased to alert you if your child has opened the gate or if someone has fallen into the pool. Remove steps and ladders if the pool is not in use.
- Check the fences in your yard. Be sure there is no loose hardware, splinters and missing slats.
- Outdoor furniture should be checked to make sure it is sturdy and safe. Garden swings should properly be secured to the ground.
- Outdoor electric outlets should have childproof outlets so that your child cannot open it.
- An outdoor grill or barbecue should be stored and secured when not in use. Propane tanks, matches and lighter fluid, as well as sharp utensils, should not be accessible to your child at any time. Also, never leave the cooking area unsupervised when using the grill.
- A simple outdoor safety precaution is to ensure your child wears proper footwear and snug fit clothing. Clothing that is loose fit or has drawstrings and accessories can easily become caught on play equipment.
- Talk to your child about rules and boundaries when playing outside. This can help your child play safe by establishing areas that are off limits, rules for slides, play equipment and other toys.
- Check out the plants in your backyard to be sure none of them are poisonous.
What Causes My Child’s Asthma Flare-Up?
- Dust mites
- Chalk dust
- Cigarette smoke
Preparing yourself for childbirth is important, but what about when you first leave the hospital with your newborn? With pregnancy taking a full nine months, expectant parents need all the time they can to prepare themselves for the big event. However, in the rush to paint the nursery and buy baby furniture, you may have overlooked some of the essentials of bringing your newborn baby home. There is no official instruction manual for becoming a parent, but with help from your pediatrician, you can ensure continual health throughout your child’s lifetime.
Leaving the Hospital
Often, moms-to-be will pack clothes for the trip home before even going to the hospital. Plan to bring loose-fitting clothing for yourself, because you most likely won’t fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes. Babies are frequently overdressed for their first trip home. In warm weather, it is practical to dress your baby in a t-shirt and diaper and to wrap them in a baby blanket. Hats are not necessary, but they can be a cute finishing touch, especially for the first picture in the hospital.
If it is cold, add a snowsuit and an extra blanket for your baby. Chances are much better that you will bring home a calm, contented baby if you do not spend too much time at the hospital trying to dress your newborn in a complicated outfit that requires pushing and pulling your baby’s arms and legs. If you have not already made arrangements with your baby’s pediatrician, make sure to ask when the baby’s first checkup should be scheduled before you leave the hospital.
The Car Ride Home
The most important item for the tip home with your newborn is a proper child safety seat (car seat). Every state requires parents to have a safety seat before leaving the hospital because it is one of the best ways to protect your baby. Even for a short trip, it is never safe for one of you to hold your baby in your arms while the other drives. Your baby could be pulled from your arms and thrown against the dashboard by a quick stop.
Infant-only seats are designed for rear-facing use only and fit infants better than convertible seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers ride in rear-facing seats until they are 2-years-old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer. Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible seat in the front seat of your car – always use the rear seat.
If your child becomes ill shortly after you bring them home from the hospital, you want to have a good working relationship with a doctor you trust and respect. You have nine months to plan, so come in and talk to us! Opening a dialogue with your new pediatrician is the best way to start what will be a long relationship based in keeping your child healthy and happy.
With your baby at home, watch for these signs that it is time to call your pediatrician:
- Breathing faster or irregular
- Notice blueness or a darkness on the lips or face
- Newborn has a fever
- Newborn’s body temperature has dropped
- See signs of dehydration
- Baby’s belly button or circumcision area looks infected
Although most babies remain perfectly healthy after they are discharged from the hospital, it is important to watch for any signs of illness and take your child to your pediatrician for evaluation within a day or two of leaving the hospital.
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