Posts Tagged ‘baby care’

Avoid a tragedy – learn safe sleep strategies

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

cropped sleeping babyEvery so often, we hear a tragic story from a new parent. Last week, a three week old baby died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This post is in memory of that baby, and our hearts go out to the family.

It is important for parents and caregivers to know safe sleep strategies. Please help us get the word out: ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.

Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play is an easy way to remember that all healthy babies should be put to sleep on their backs every time until their first birthday. Do not put your baby to sleep on her side, either. Most babies will roll over both ways by the end of the 7th month, but always start them out going to sleep on their backs. You can give your baby tummy time to help strengthen her back muscles when she is awake and you are watching her.

About 3,500 infants (less than one year of age) die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States, according to the CDC. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Most SIDS cases happen in babies between 2 and 4 months old. We don’t know what causes SIDS, but certain things can put babies at higher risk:

  • Bed sharing – do not sleep in the same bed as your baby. Sleeping in the same room is suggested, just not the same bed. Bed sharing is the biggest risk factor for SIDS in babies under 4 months of age.
  • Sofa or couch sleeping – do not let your baby sleep on the couch or soft surfaces, including pillows. Nearly 13 percent of infant sleeping deaths are sofa-related.
  • Wearing too many clothes or sleeping in a room that is too hot.
  • Sleeping on her tummy or side.

Read more about safe sleep, mom and baby care and other tips for reducing the risk of SIDS.

If you have questions about putting your baby to sleep, send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org or ask your baby’s health care provider.

If you or someone you know has lost a baby due to SIDS or an unknown reason, the Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center offers bereavement packets to families. Just email us with your mailing address and we will send one to you.

See other topics in the series on Delays and Disabilities- How to get help for your child, here.

 

Updated Sept. 2015

Coughing, sniffling, and sneezing…oh my!

Monday, February 16th, 2015

baby_sickbabycareDid you know that by the time most babies are two years old they have had eight to ten colds? Colds in little ones can be very unpleasant. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose…all these symptoms can be more uncomfortable for a baby than for an older child or adult. A baby can’t blow her nose and has a hard time breathing through her mouth. And a stuffy nose can make it difficult for a baby to suck which can affect feeding.

Lots of times you may want to give your little one some over-the-counter medicine to help relieve her runny nose and cough. But it is important to remember that over-the-counter cold medicines can be dangerous for children under two and should not be used.

Colds are caused by viruses and can be spread through the air and on surfaces.  A child or adult can spread a cold directly through a sneeze or cough or indirectly through touching hands and surfaces. For instance, if an infected person coughs into their hand and then shakes someone else’s hand, and that person then touches their nose or mouth, they may catch the cold and the virus is spread.

As we all know, colds are a part of life, and unfortunately there is no treatment. Antibiotics will not cure a cold. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, not viruses. If your baby has a cold accompanied by a mild fever, a single ingredient fever-reducer (such as acetaminophen) can help. But over-the-counter combination medications that treat cold symptoms, such as coughing and runny nose, should not be used in children under age two. These medicines can cause life-threatening side effects in children under two. And according to the American Academy of Pediatrics “…several studies show that cold and cough products don’t work in children younger than six years and can have potentially serious side effects. In addition, keep in mind that coughing clears mucus from the lower part of the respiratory tract, and ordinarily there’s no reason to suppress it.”

So if your baby or child has a cold, what can you do to make her feel better? If your baby is having trouble sucking, try using a rubber suction bulb to help clear her nose before each feeding. Your health care provider may recommend saline (salt water) nose drops to help clear up stuffiness. A cool-mist humidifier in her room may also help—just make sure to clean and dry the humidifier each day to prevent mold and bacteria from developing.

Most children do not need to see a health care provider when they have a cold. However, if you have a baby three months or younger, you should call your pediatrician as soon as you notice any signs of illness. Check out our website for more information about when to call your baby’s provider. And remember, prevention is the best medicine—make sure to keep your infant away from people who are coughing and sneezing, and teach older children about washing hands and the best way to cough and sneeze.