Keeping your baby safe

Keeping your baby safe

New parents must gear themselves and their homes up for the arrival of their new baby, advises Dr Sumana Rao.

The arrival of a baby means the parents need to look at their home in a whole new light. Babies and young children are naturally curious and the parents will need to assess their home and the outdoors for lurking dangers. They can’t wait until disaster strikes. Instead they need to think about the safety much before the new arrival in their homes. With careful planning and a little equipment, they can be prepared when the baby is ready to explore.

Home safety

* Once the baby starts crawling, parents must install a safety gate to keep the baby out of spaces where (s)he’ll be prone to falls.

*  Attach cushioned corner-and-edge protectors to coffee tables and desks. They may not prevent a fall but they can help lessen an injury.

*Choose curtains and blinds without cords. If you do have them, tie cords high up and out of your child's reach.

*  Place colourful stickers on large areas of glass, such as sliding glass doors, to remind the child that the doors are there.

*  Use socket covers for electrical sockets anyway to help prevent the child from plugging in appliances or receiving a shock.

*  Keep pens, scissors, letter openers, staplers, paper clips, and other sharp instruments in locked drawers.

*  Use corner protectors to cover sharp furniture corners and prevent bumped heads.

*  Use door slam protectors at the edge of doors to prevent them from slamming on little fingers.

*  Use glass safety film that can be stuck onto large sheets of glass to prevent them from shattering into little pieces if broken.

*  Use baby car seats everytime you travel, and ensure the baby is never left alone in the seat without adult supervision at all times.

Food allergies

When you start solid food diet for the baby, it is very important to introduce one food item at a time. This would not only help keep the allergic reaction in check but also help the parents identify whether the bay has any in-born food allergies. One thing most experts do agree on is that breastfeeding offers some protection against allergies. Consider breastfeeding your baby as long as you can, especially if you have a family history of allergies.

Babies and pets

Many pets are very open-minded about small children, but it's still important to be aware of the potential dangers to the baby. Dogs always need supervision when babies and children are around. No matter how trustworthy the pet may be, if a toddler is pulling its tail, or poking its eye, it may lose patience.

Vaccine allergies

Some babies with certain food allergies may be at higher risk for allergic reactions as a result of vaccines containing certain food proteins. Up to 8% of children suffer from food allergies, with egg being one of the most common foods to which children are allergic.

Many routine childhood immunizations contain traces of egg protein or other food ingredients. As a result, there is the possibility that a child with food allergies will experience anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) as a result of receiving a vaccination.

(The writer is a consultant pediatrician)