The easiest way for new parents to minimize their worries for their child's safety and health is to arm themselves with knowledge. Being knowledgeable about the dangers that infants, toddlers, and children face can help parents become proactive, aware, and hopefully less stressed about their child's safety. The November 2009 issue of Parenting OC Magazine included an informative article that explained the seven major points of concern in infant health and provided tips on how parents can keep their babies healthy.
The anxiety that many new parents feel about their baby's safety is understandable. There is a great deal of information out there and it can be difficult to understand and sort through all of the information. Dr. Angela Dangvu, member of the executive committee for the Orange County branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has identified these seven issues as top priorities for parents:
Certainly, car safety is of great importance. Everyday that we hop in the car we recognize the importance of using the seatbelt and other safety devices in our vehicles. It is imperative that new parents take car safety seriously as there are thousands of automobile accidents resulting in the deaths or major injury of children. If your baby is less than one year of age and weighs twenty pounds or less, seat them in a rear-facing car seat in your vehicle's back seat. Read the information packet that comes with the car seat thoroughly so that you can be certain that you know how to use it properly; and can teach another person how to use the car seat should that need ever present itself.
Immunizations have come under fire in recent decades, especially when it comes to concerns about the development of autism and other developmental disorders. Speak to your physician should you have any concerns about getting your baby immunized and commit time to doing your own research. Despite the recent controversy surrounding the administration of immunizations, they remain a major medical achievement that has prevented the spread of dangerous illnesses in children and adults.
Information about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke are well documented and well publicized. It is very important that parents understand that secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children and can lead to stunted lung development and other respiratory issues, among other major conditions that can lead to illness or even death.
Breastfeeding can serve as an infants main source of nutrition should an baby's mother choose to breastfeed. The process of breastfeeding may seem straightforward to anyone who has never breastfed, but it can be quite difficult. To avoid absolute frustration and a resolution to opt for formula over breastfeeding, it is advisable that soon-to-be moms and dads do their research and learn as much as they can about breastfeeding before their little one is born.
Statistics show that approximately 70 percent of the deaths of children who are accidentally killed in their homes are under four years of age (Tong, 39). Many of these deaths can be prevented if parents heed the safety recommendations of pediatricians and other safety experts.
Getting a baby to fall asleep can be difficult. Even though babies can sleep up to 16 hours per day, they may sleep in short one to two hour intervals. Dr. Dangvu recommends that parents avoid feeding their infants just before putting them to sleep. Instead, it is recommended that parents put their baby down to rest once they have noticed that the baby is sleepy. Avoiding stimulating activities and creating a calm, quiet and soothing environment prior to setting your baby down for a rest are the best ways to get your baby to fall asleep.
The sound of your crying baby may be difficult to hear. Parents may want to pick up their children to soothe them and calm them. Sometimes, however, parents may become exceedingly frustrated with a baby that cries constantly. They may even shake their baby in an attempt to quiet them. This is extremely dangerous for the baby, however, and may lead to serious injury or death. Should a parent become so frustrated with their crying child, it is best for the parent to place the child in a safe place and to walk into a different room until they are calm and collected.
Allison Tong. The Top 7 Infant Health Issues: A Primer on How to Keep Your Baby Healthy & Safe. Parenting OC Magazine. November 2009. Pp 37-43.
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