Childr Health Information

Instructions on safety, comforting and surroundings

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Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions parents ask about keeping their babies safe and how to comfort a crying baby. Feel free to ask your baby’s doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

How should my baby sleep? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy, full term infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This is most important during the first six months of age. Ask your doctor about sleep position for your baby.

Where should my baby sleep?
Your baby should sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm, flat mattress. Do not use beanbag cushions, sheepskins, foam pads, foam sofa pillows, synthetic filled adult pillows, foam pads covered with comforters or water beds. Do not put very soft stuffed toys in your baby’s crib that could keep the baby from moving his or her head.

Will my cigarette smoking hurt my baby?
Your baby may be burned or even blinded by a lit cigarette or cigarette ash if you or anyone else smokes while holding your baby. Cigarette smoking during breastfeeding may decrease your milk supply. Your baby may develop vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and shock from the nicotine in your milk. Breathing cigarette smoke may cause your baby to have more colds and other health problems. There appears to be an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) in babies exposed to cigarette smoke. You should not take your baby into smoke-filled rooms or allow people to smoke near your baby, especially if your baby has had breathing problems.

How should I dress my baby?
Dress your baby according to the weather. Use good judgment. It is wise to cover your baby’s head to help keep the baby warm and protect him or her from over exposure to the sun and wind. Keep your baby out of drafts. House temperature is best around 68° - 70°F in the winter. Do not overheat (too much clothing, too heavy bedding, too warm a room) if he or she has a cold or infection. Make sure all buttons and snaps on your baby’s clothes are sewn securely. Babies can easily pull off loose buttons and snaps. They could stick these in their mouths and choke on them. Also, never leave open diaper pins near your baby. Babies could stick themselves with them or may try to swallow them.

What are the safest toys for a baby?
Babies enjoy looking at people’s faces and toys of bright and contrasting colors and different textures. (Be sure that toys do not have sharp edges or small parts that can come off.) They see best when things are eight to 12 inches away. Babies like to put things in their mouths. Keep toys that have small pieces away from your baby. Remember, if he or she can get it in his mouth, your baby could swallow or choke on the toy.

Does my baby need to ride in a car seat all the time?
Yes. Remember, a car seat is the only safe place for your baby to ride. Start this good habit with your baby’s first car ride-the one from the hospital. Know how to use your car seat before the first ride home.

Can my baby have visitors? Can I take my baby shopping with me?
Until your baby is a little older, it is best to avoid large crowds (shopping centers, church nurseries, etc). Check with the doctor to see when you can take your baby to these places. Respect your baby’s need for rest. Allow only two to three visitors at a time. Make sure they are not sick, no colds or flu symptoms.

Why do babies cry?
Crying is normal. Babies tell us by crying when they are hungry, wet, uncomfortable, cold, hot or have gas. By getting rid of the problem, your baby should quiet. However, there are always babies who cry and seem to be unable to be quieted. Singing to them, holding or rocking them are things that might help. Talking to them in a soft, higher pitched voice is soothing.

Is it all right to give my baby a pacifier?
Babies need to suck and get great pleasure from it. Some babies need to suck more than others. Giving your baby a pacifier is a good way to meet this need. (Giving an infant a pacifier does not mean he or she will want one for a long time.) These are better for the baby to suck on than his thumb or fingers which can sometimes lead to dental changes. Do not tie pacifiers around baby’s neck.

What if I cannot comfort my baby?
If you cannot calm and quiet your baby, do not worry. Worrying will not help. It is okay to let your baby cry for short periods of time if you can’t see anything that is wrong. Check on your baby every few minutes to make sure he or she is all right. As you get to know your baby better, you will be able to guess what is wrong more easily.

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information on safety, comforting and  surrounds, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006
Revisado: 2003

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006
Reviewed: 2003


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