When a child is born, they are completely helpless and rely 100% on you, so it is our job as parents to be there and protect them. Ironically even a simple object can be hazardous to your child and don’t get me started on bacteria around the house, but in today’s interview with midwife Lara-Marie, she will break it down to us and give some hints and tips on how to protect your newborn and children around the house.
MalteseDaddy: It’s been a while, Lara, our readers missed you and so did I, as we all learn a thing or two from your interviews and I know today may spark some interest to our readers, as let’s face it we all want to protect our children, so lets start with immunizations, what can you tell us about them?
Lara: Yes, it’s been a while and was looking forward to speaking about this as I always get concerned parents asking me how to protect my child after they are born and to answer your questions, yes lets start with immunizations:
- Giving important immunizations to baby is important to prevent illness. Two types of immunizations: routine immunizations and non-routine ones.
- Vaccines are given to strengthen the child’s immune system to fight off diseases that could cause lasting damage to health or even be fatal
- The national health service provides routine immunizations for free to all children from various health centres.
- The first immunization at 6 weeks of age includes a combination vaccine protecting against diphtheria (can cause breathing problems) , tetanus (can lead to damage to the nervous system and heart), pertussis (Whooping Cough), polio (can lead to damage to the nervous system) and Haemophilus influenza type B. At 3 months and 4 months, babies will have the 5-in-1 booster vaccine. At 12 months, babies take the Hep B vaccine and at 13 months, babies take the Hep B Booster and MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. At 18 months, babies take another 5-in-1 booster vaccine and at 3-4 years of age, babies take the MMR Booster vaccine.
- After the immunizations, especially the 5-in-1 vaccine, baby can experience fever for up to 48 hours after the vaccination. The doctor will give treatment.
MalteseDaddy: Readers, obviously before giving your injections, always consult your paediatrician as every child is different or visit the healthcare website. Furthermore, safety in general what information can you share with us?
Lara: Regarding immunization, always consult your doctor and to give everyone like a checklist to check on the safety measure I enlisted for ease of reading:
- Provide essential home safety equipment such as smoke alarms, safety gates and fireguards
- Fit safety gates to stop them climbing stairs. Close them properly after you go through the gate. If the gaps between the bannisters or balcony railings are more than 6.5 cm wide, cover them with boards or safety netting.
- Small babies may be able to squeeze their bodies through, but not their heads. Make sure low furniture is kept away from windows and that windows are fitted with locks or safety catches to restrict the opening to less than 6.5cm to stop babies climbing out.
- Try not to use a baby walker, as more accidents and injuries happen in baby walkers than in any other form of baby equipment.
- Remove cot toys and cot bumpers as a baby can use them to climb on and may fall out of the cot.
- Don’t use the top bunk of a bunk bed for under-five-year-old children – they can easily fall out.
- Stay with your baby all the time when they are in the bath – never leave them even for a moment, even if there is an older brother or sister in the bath with them.If you use a bath seat, remember that it’s not a safety device. You will still need to stay with your baby all the time.
- If your home catches fire, you and your child could breathe in poisonous smoke. It is especially dangerous if the fire breaks out at night while you are all asleep. Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Toddlers may play with the hot tap, scalding themselves and any other children who are sharing the bath with them.
- Never leave an under-five alone in the bath, even for a moment. Fit a thermostatic mixing valve to your bath hot tap to control the temperature at which the water comes out, to stop your child being badly scalded.
- Put cold water into the bath first, then add the hot water. Always test the temperature of the water before you put your baby or toddler in the bath. Use you elbow – the water should not feel either hot or cold.
- When they start to wriggle and then crawl, they can get themselves into trouble, and this is why one needs to take some simple precautions. Babies soon learn to wriggle and kick, and it’s not long before they can rollover, which means that they can roll off things. Therefore make sure not to leave your child unattended
- Once they learn to crawl, some babies may try to climb on to things, which increases the risk of falling. Don’t leave your baby unattended on a bed, sofa or changing table – even for a second – as they could roll-off.
- Don’t put your baby in a bouncing cradle or baby car seat on a table or kitchen worktop – their wriggling could tip it over the edge. Use the handrail when carrying your baby up and downstairs in case you trip.
- Don’t use pillows or duvets with babies under one as they can suffocate if their face gets smothered. They will not be able to push the duvet away.
- Always use a baby or child car seat that is right for your child’s height and weight.
- When buying a seat, try it in your car before buying it. A badly fitting seat can make a big difference to the protection it provides in a crash.
- Make sure the seat is fitted properly in the car and your baby or toddler is securely strapped in
- It is very dangerous to carry a baby in a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat with an active airbag.
- It is not ideal for toddlers in forward-facing seats either. Use the back seat for all under-fives if you can.
- Don’t buy a second-hand baby car seat, they could have been damaged in a crash, may not have all its parts (including instructions), plus it may not be the safest and most user-friendly model, and may not fit your car properly.
- Never leave your baby or toddler alone in the car. It can get very hot in summer. Also, they may play with window and door switches and the cigarette lighter.
- It’s especially dangerous if you have left the keys in the ignition.
- There will come a time when you need to start using a forward-facing child car seat. But you should carry on using your rear-facing seat for as long as you can as these provide better protection in a crash.
- When taking your toddler out of the car or putting them in, do it from the pavement side of the vehicle.
- Babies can choke very easily, even on their milk. They will also put small objects that can choke them in their mouths, even when they are quite young.
- If you give your baby a bottle, always hold the bottle and your baby during feeding.
- Keep small things like buttons, coins and small parts from toys out of reach.
- Don’t tie a dummy to your baby’s clothes as the tie or ribbon could strangle them.
- When you have finished using your iron or hair straighteners, put them out of reach while they cool down. Make sure your child cannot grab the wire while you are using them.
- Make sure any cot toys have very short ribbons and remove them when your baby goes to sleep. Never hang things like bags with cords or strings over the cot.Cut or tie-up curtain or blind cords well out of your baby’s or toddler’s reach.
- Children can ingest household products so store medicines, household chemicals (including cleaning products) and lighters out of sight and out of reach, or locked away safely.
- Once your baby has started on solid food, always cut it up. Babies can choke on something as small as a grape.
- Don’t give peanuts to children under six months of age (ideally not before 5 years)
- Keep scissors, knives and razors out of reach.
- Don’t leave hot drinks in easy reach of little hands – babies and toddlers may grab at cups and mugs on low tables or the floor and pull the contents over themselves.
- Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
- Encourage your child to play in the shade.
- Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
- Cover exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and which is effective against UVA and UVB. Don’t forget their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and tops of feet. Re-apply often.
MalteseDaddy: Wow that’s a long list, but very essential to read and be equipped with all the checklist that Lara provided. Obviously no one wants their baby to get hurt, but that’s how accidents are created when you least expected and sometimes it might be too late. So readers please read this and make sure that your home and car are fully equipped for your child’s safety. Thank you Lara-Marie for a very informative interview, we will discuss another interesting topic for sure.
Lara: I know, this list might seem endless, but I have gathered all information I gathered from previous accidents which occurred through my midwife career, so you might think that this may never happen, but you will never know and that is why we are guiding you to take the necessary measure to give the best possible safety for your baby.
Join us next time on Ask The Expert, where I will be asking Janita some questions on potty training 😊