OHSU

When Your Baby is Home

Feeding Your Baby

Your baby depends on you for the nutrition they need to grow. There are a number of safety concerns associated with feeding that you should remember.

  • Nursing mothers: avoid alcohol and drugs, except medications prescribed to you by a physician. Inform your physician that you are breast-feeding before a medication is prescribed.
  • Don’t use a microwave oven to heat a bottle. The contents of the bottle could be hotter than the bottle itself, and the buildup of steam inside a bottle could cause it to burst. Use a pot of hot water or pour hot tap water over the bottle instead.
  • After warming, shake the bottle and test the temperature of the bottle’s contents by squeezing some onto the inside of your wrist. The contents should feel comfortably warm.
  • Never leave your baby alone with a bottle propped in their mouth.
  • Never eat, drink, carry or prepare hot foods or beverages while holding your baby.
  • Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edges of tables and counter tops.

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Pacifiers

If you plan to give your baby a pacifier, here are safety guidelines to keep in mind.

  • The guard or shield on a pacifier should be large enough to prevent your baby from putting the entire pacifier into their mouth.
  • Check the parts of the pacifier frequently to make sure that they will not come apart.
  • Replace pacifiers often.
  • Never hang a pacifier on a cord around a baby’s neck or attach it to your baby’s clothing with a clip and cord.
  • Never substitute the lid and nipple of a bottle for a pacifier.

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Changing Time

Each year, thousands of children receive serious injuries to the head and internal organs from falling off changing tables. Remember that some babies can roll over when they are only a few weeks old. To protect your baby from serious injury, never use a changing table, sofa or bed unless the following precautions are taken.

  • Keep one hand on your baby at all times.
  • Never leave your baby alone on a changing table, sofa or bed.
  • A safe alternative to a changing table, sofa or bed is a changing pad or receiving blanket on a clean and comfortable floor.
  • Baby powders, oils and lotions can cause illness if swallowed. Do not store these items on a changing table or within your baby’s reach.

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Baby Carriers

While a baby carrier can be a big help to you, it also can cause serious injuries if your baby accidentally falls out or is knocked down from a high place. Here are a few tips to help avoid injury.
  • Always secure your baby in a baby carrier with the safety strap.
  • Never leave your baby alone while in a baby carrier. Take them with you if you must leave the room.
  • Avoid placing a baby carrier on or close to the edge of a table or other high surfaces.
  • Watch your baby carefully when other children or animals are present.
  • Never use a baby carrier as a car seat.

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Highchairs, Playpens, Strollers & Swings

High chairs, playpens, strollers and baby swings are never a substitute for an adult’s close supervision. Follow the guidelines below for safe use.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly, use and maintenance.
  • Always secure your baby in a high chair, stroller or baby swing with the safety strap.
  • Don’t substitute a playpen for a crib. A crib’s built-in safety features help protect a baby from injury while sleeping.

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Walkers

Medical experts do not recommend the use of walkers. Injuries as serious as skull fractures, concussions and broken limbs can occur if the walker tips over or if your baby falls down a staircase. However, if you do use a walker, be sure to use the following guidelines.

  • Close and lock doors to stairways and block staircases with gates. Explain to older children that leaving doors open is not safe when a baby is in a walker.
  • Use walkers only on smooth surfaces. Edges of carpets, throw rugs and raised thresholds can cause a walker to tip over.
  • Never leave your child alone in a walker.
  • In a walker, your baby may be able to reach more items in the room and may move around faster. Constant supervision is essential.

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Cars

Using the appropriate car seat (see safety chart) isn’t enough. Make sure you remember the following when your child is in your car and if you need assistance installing a car seat or have questions about which seat is right for your child, please contact the Safety Center at (503) 418-5666 and speak with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

  • To protect your baby from a hot car seat in the summer, place a light-colored blanket or towel over the car seat before placing your baby into it. Be careful not to accidentally brush your baby’s skin with a hot car seat buckle or clip.
  • In the winter, first buckle your child in a car seat and then place a blanket over them until the car is heated.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car for any reason. The fumes from a running engine can cause serious damage or death. In extremely cold weather, your child can suffer frostbite if left in a car. In warm weather, your child can suffer heat stroke and dehydration.

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Playtime

For babies, playtime is about discovery. Since children at this age tend to place objects in their mouths, the risk of choking and suffocation is great. Keep play areas clean, and vacuum frequently to make sure smaller toys and toy parts are not within reach.
To obtain product safety information, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800 638-2772 or visit their web site at www.cpsc.gov. In addition to following CPSC recommendations, you should avoid the following toys:

  • Crib gyms and mobiles that hang low in the crib.
  • Toys with small, removable parts that can be pulled off and swallowed.
  • Stuffed animals and dolls with buttons instead of patches for eyes.
  • Toys with long handles that can be inserted in the mouth or poked in an eye.
  • Pull toys with long cords that can become tangled around your child’s head or neck.
  • Toys made of brittle materials or those that have sharp edges.

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Bathtime

It is important to take proper precautions during your baby’s bath time to avoid serious injuries including burns and drowning. Be safe by following these recommendations.

  • Set the water temperature in the home no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Always test the temperature of the bath water with your elbow before placing your baby into the tub. The temperature should be pleasantly warm. Bathtub thermometers are also available to test water temperature.
  • Never add water to a tub while your baby is in it. If you need to add more water, remove your baby first. Be sure to test the water again before placing your baby back in the tub.
  • When bathing your infant, cradle them in one arm and use the free hand to wash your baby.
  • Use a bath mat or a towel in the base of a bathtub to help prevent your baby from sliding.
  • Keep the area free of appliances that could fall into the tub.
  • Use faucet covers and bath cushions that attach to the sides of a bathtub to protect your baby from bumps and bruises.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a bath (or near any water such as a bucket or toilet) for any reason or for any amount of time. A child can drown in less than one inch of water.

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Portable Crib Safety

Many of the same recommendations for crib safety apply to portable cribs; however, you should also keep the following in mind when using a portable crib.

  • Ensure that the mesh fabric sides are intact. Inspect the fabric frequently for tears.
  • The thickness of a mattress pad in a portable crib should not exceed 1 inch.
  • Do not use an additional mattress or padding. Your infant can get tangled up in extra padding and suffocate.
  • Never leave your infant in a crib that has a side folded down. Your child could roll into the space between the mattress and the mesh and become trapped.
  • Make sure the latches on the crib are in place and locked to prevent the crib from collapsing.
  • There should not be any screws, rivets, wing nuts, etc., sticking out of the crib.

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Crib Monitors

A crib monitor provides added safety and comfort when your baby is napping or sleeping. Use these general guidelines for crib monitors.

  • Use a safety-tested product.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance, and keep the instructions for future use.
  • Test batteries regularly.
  • Keep the monitor out of your baby’s reach.

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Tripping and Falling

  • Keep pathways and stairways free of toys, shoes and other objects.
  • Don’t risk harming a baby by carrying too much at one time.
  • Make additional trips if necessary.
  • Block the top of stairs with a "wall-mounted" gate.
  • Make sure that all second story and above windows are "stopped" at a 4 inch opening.

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Smoking

For the health of your baby, your family and yourself, avoid smoking. If you choose to smoke, don’t do so near your baby or any other family member. Secondhand smoke is dangerous to all who breathe it. Another reason to never hold a baby while smoking is to avoid accidental burning.

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Paint Fumes and Remodeling

Keep your child out of a room that is being painted, has just been painted or contains furniture that has just been painted. Fumes from paint are harmful to young children. Also, remove your child from a room before starting household repairs or remodeling. The debris caused by the work can cause injury. 

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For more information:

503 418-5666
safety@ohsu.edu

Location:

Doernbecher Children's Hospital Lobby
700 SW Campus Drive Portland, OR 97239

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