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Having a new baby on the way is a very exciting time. It’s also a time that will make you look around your home and suddenly notice hazards that didn’t seem to be there before. Glass tables suddenly look like shattered death traps. Wooden cabinets and units suddenly have razor sharp edges that are going to cut little faces and hands. Sockets in the walls that have always worked perfectly fine before, are suddenly electrocution risks and spark when you walk past them. Of course, your house hasn’t changed. The sockets haven’t suddenly become unsafe. The change is within you. Suddenly, you’re a parent and you only have a seemingly limited amount of time to ensure that the house that you’ve lived in for years is going to be a perfectly bubble-wrapped place of safety, calm and love.
It’s time to dial it back a little. That picture painted above is not a reality in your home. Your baby is on the way, yes, and safety is paramount, yes, but you have some time before childproofing the house to within an inch of your life is going to count for anything. Safety for your baby is so important from the moment that you find out you’re pregnant. Exploring all the ways that you can keep your baby safe can drive you crazy, so we’re going to break things down a little and make it easier to understand. This way, you can understand how you can be as safe as possible for your new baby along the way.
Safety doesn’t start when the baby you bring home starts walking or crawling. Safety starts from the moment that you find out you are pregnant. You may be the type of pregnant woman that is hyper aware of the food that you put into your body, and this is a good thing. Pregnant women need to ensure – more than others – that they are eating a balanced diet packed with nutrients and vitamins. Vitamins in pregnancy are so important, as is folic acid. Make sure that you speak to your healthcare provider about which vitamins are safe for you to have while you are pregnant so that you can make an informed decision about your body and what you put into it. Your body is creating life. You are literally building a human being from scratch. So, ensuring that you get enough water, enough fruit and vegetables and enough exercise is very important. Even on the days you are feeling sick and exhausted, you should try as hard as you can to keep the vitamins coming. If you are working at the moment, inform your employer that you are pregnant so that you can make provisions in your job. You need to have a risk assessment in your position, as this will allow your employer to help you to have a safe working environment, keeping you as safe as possible while you are pregnant.
Every labor and delivery is different, even if you have more children, you can’t compare the experiences. Being prepared in labor is simply about being informed. Your doctors and your nurses will be the ones to keep you medically safe during childbirth, and as long as you have done enough research and are informed about your options, you will be able to make informed decisions. You should make sure that your birth partner knows what your wishes are for during delivery, and if you can you should draft a birth plan. Bear in mind that birth plans are simply guides, and there is a chance that what you hope to have during labor may not come to pass. Don’t set all your hopes on your birth plan, as you could be sorely disappointed if things don’t go according to the plan. Rest assured, though, your care providers will make sure that you are as safe as can be while you are giving birth.
Bringing Baby Home.
When you leave the hospital with your baby, they’ll ensure that you have the correct car seat to take your baby out in. If you’re driving, your hospital may check to verify that you are bringing your baby home in the proper infant carrier, and not a forward-facing car seat or a seat that is too large for your child. You should by now have attended a baby first aid course if you have them in your area, as this will help you to prepare for choking and other baby related issues. Your baby should have a sleep space or crib set up safely: with fitted sheets only and no loose covers. There shouldn’t be any loose wires, blind cords or long mobiles that your baby can get tangled up in, either, as this is a hazard and not safe at all. All the toys – soft and otherwise – that you have ready for your baby to grow into should be free of small pieces and should be non-toxic and washable. Your home is going to be the place that they spend a lot of their time, so you have to prepare it the best way that you can. Make sure that you never leave your new baby alone with pets, older siblings under 12 or on a soft surface. Babies require supervision at all times, which is why your baby’s crib should be in your room for the first six months of their life.
There’s nothing more daunting than bringing a brand-new baby into the home. You’ve got to consider all the possible risks for your home and you can use your pregnancy to make it a safe place. Any loose floorboards and carpet should be fastened – and call in the professionals to ensure that this is done correctly. The last thing that you want to happen is falling down the stairs with the baby in your arms because you didn’t get the carpet fastened down correctly. If you haven’t already, have smoke detectors installed along with carbon monoxide detectors. With this, you should have fire extinguishers or fire blankets to hand – just in case. Once a month, check the batteries on all detectors and do a test to check whether everything is in good working order. Your baby won’t stay a baby for very long, so you’ll need to anchor your furniture to the walls with brackets. This is so that if your inquisitive little baby decides to one day pull themselves up on furniture, they won’t fall down, crushing the child. Put a sign up outside your front door to notify any public personnel like door-to-door salesmen that you will be asking for identification so to have it ready: there are children in the house, now, and safety is paramount.
Safety for your baby also covers their health and the other members of the family that your baby will come into contact with will need to ensure that they are following the same health and cleanliness rules that you follow to keep your child safe. Handwashing is so important, especially in the early weeks of your child’s life. Before you feed your baby and before and after a diaper change, you need to wash your hands. You should also wash your hands after handling pets and before touching your baby. It goes without saying that if you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing that you and your partner can do. Third-hand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking directly next to your baby, and you should read here about those dangers. Family members that do smoke, you won’t be able to dictate to if they are extended and don’t live with you. However, you can insist on the use of hand gel and a smoking jacket if they intend to visit you and your baby. All highchairs, plastic BPA-free toys and surfaces that your baby will come into contact with should be wiped down with antibacterial spray and cloths. Bottles – if used – should be sterilized and formula made to the description on the side of the can. Safety is important, and your family should want to help you to ensure that your baby is safe at home and outside.
You are the person, along with your partner, who will be in charge of the safety of your child. Being vigilant, adhering to safe sleep rules and paying attention to research on weaning and car seats is so important if you want to get through your baby’s childhood with little issue. Everyone wants parenting to be plain sailing, but it rarely is when a baby is fresh and new. You can be overconfident about the safety and security of your child, and as they get older trying to ensure that your toddler knows the safety rules is going to take some time. Where you can, research the safety rules for your child and stay on top of things. Bringing a baby home is a joy, and it should stay that way for as long as possible!