Helpful tips for keeping babies safe, healthy, happy

Spc. Todd Goodman, Story and photo
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

***image1***September is national Baby Safety Month, and with that comes some helpful tips to ensure the baby gets off to a healthy start. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Pediatric Clinic is available to provide plenty of useful advice.

It is important to create a safe environment when a newcomer joins the family. Proper use of an infant car seat is one of the most basic safety measures, but used improperly can be as dangerous as not using one at all.

“It is important to buy one that is suitable to the child’s age and size,” said Lt. Col. John Scott LRMC Pediatrics Clinic. “And by all means, read the instructions to ensure it has been assembled properly.”

Cribs are another necessity that can be a hazard if some basic guidelines are not adhered to. It’s best to use Academy of Pediatrics approved cribs because the mattress should be a certain firmness, with slats a certain distance apart. Slats that are too far apart can be a problem because the baby could get his head stuck between them.

Often-times parents will place their child on a countertop to dress him or change his diaper. There is nothing wrong with that, however, never leave the baby unattended atop a counter.

“Babies have a tendency to roll around and can be seriously injured if they take a fall from the height of an average countertop,” said Colonel Scott.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but babies use their natural sense of curiosity to discover the world around them. In large part, they do this by touching things and putting those things inside their mouths.

“Keep all dangerous things out of reach, as babies tend to put whatever they find into their mouths,” he said. “And if you have older children around the baby, supervise them to make sure they don’t give the baby anything to eat that could cause him to choke.”

Speaking of food, parents should give their baby soft, healthy foods to eat. Avoid giving him too many sweet drinks or snacks between meals. According to Colonel Scott, there are plenty of baby books out there that outline the proper diet for an infant.

Other general safety points include:
– Keep poisonous substances out of reach.
– Keep electrical outlets covered so they don’t insert their fingers.
– Don’t leave them unattended in the car.
– Make sure their bathwater is not too hot.
– Place the baby on his back to go to sleep. This helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

All of these safety points are emphasized during the Pediatric Clinic’s well baby visits, when parents bring their babies in for routine check-ups.

These visits typically occur at two weeks, two months, four months, six months, one year, 18 months and two years. Doctors use this time to answer any health concerns parents may have and to check the health and development of the baby.

To make an appointment with a pediatrician, call the clinic at 486-8191 or 06371-86-8191.