When the temperature drops and everyone is preparing for the holidays, things can get a little crazy. Shopping and preparations are taking up time and people tend to forget things. One thing that should never be forgotten is the safety of your newborn. However, how do you keep your newborn baby safe and healthy during the winter months? Continue reading to learn more about some winter newborn safety tips.
Winter Newborn Safety
With the decline in the temperature, you will want to make sure that your newborn is warm. It is important to also be careful about what you are using to keep your baby warm as there is a time and a place for different articles of clothing.
If you are going to be outside for a bit, you are going to want to make sure that your baby has enough to keep them warm, but not overheat. Healthychildren.org states, “Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm.” These include footed onesies, a long-sleeve shirt, and a light jacket. Some extra things that you also want are some boots, gloves/mittens, and a warm hat.
When you are indoors, you can remove all the extra articles of clothing as long as it is not cold in the room you are in. If you have just removed clothing and your infant becomes fussy, it could be because they are cold. Don’t think that because you are not cold, your newborn will not be, because newborns get colder faster than adults do.
During the winter months, snow and ice are on the roads depending on where you live. These can make for some dangerous roads and it is important to make sure that your baby is safe while on these roads, To do this, make sure that they have a rear-facing car seat. Be sure to also inspect that it is properly installed and your baby is secure in it.
Another winter newborn safety tip is to make sure that you do not leave them in the car when you are not there. You do not want to do this at all because in the summer months they can overheat, and in the winter months, they can freeze. Doing this can also help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS.
The last car safety tip is to avoid jackets in the car. Now a light jacket will be fine, however, a big puffy jacket on your newborn whilst driving can actually be dangerous. There are many reasons why with the first being the heat. Your newborn might be overheating in their car seat due to the jacket, so it might be best to take it off. The other reason is, it may be too big and you may need to loosen the safety straps to fit your baby. In the event of an accident or abrupt stop, the straps can compress the coat and cause your newborn to slip out of the car seat restraints.
Keeping Warm At Night
The reason why you want to make sure that your infant has the ideal sleeping temperature is that they do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature like adults do. You can check to see if your baby is hot or cold by checking the back of their neck. If it is cool then you might want to warm up your baby. You can do this by putting them in warmer pajamas or by investing in a space heater. If you choose a space heater, there are some things to look out for. Make sure that it avoids fire hazards, meets current safety standards, and ideally has a temperature control. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) states that you should do the following.
- Inspect for cracked or broken plugs
- Look for loose connections
- Plug directly into a wall
- Place on flat surfaces and not on tables cabinets and carpet
- Unplug and safely store when not in use
If your baby is sweating on the back of their neck, you are going to need to cool their room. You can do this by turning off the space heater, and if that does not do enough, or you didn’t have one, turn down the air conditioning or remove a layer of clothing off your baby.
Many believe that the cause of the common cold is the cold weather. This is actually a myth and the cold is caused by viruses that we are exposed to during winter. You want to limit the exposure that your baby gets to these viruses. You can do this by making sure that everyone who holds your newborn has washed their hands thoroughly and has used sanitizer. Make sure anyone who isn’t feeling well or is exhibiting cold symptoms doesn’t hold your child. Another thing to make sure of is that your baby is immunized. The Clevland Clinic reminds parents too, “Keep vaccinations current, including the flu shot for children 6 months and older.” This way, you and your baby can both be protected from any winter virus.
Hypothermia & Frostbite
It is unlikely that you’ll be outside, especially for long periods, in severely cold weather with your baby. As long as you keep your newborn warm, you will not have to worry about either of these. However, they are still possible and are very serious. Hypothermia is when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. In infants, you will see them showing signs that they are cold. You will know that your newborn has hypothermia if their temperature drops below 97.7 degrees Farenheight. If not treated, it can lead to frostbite or even death. Frostbite is when the skin and underlying tissues are freezing. One of the first signs of frostbite in infants is white patches on their skin. If you see this, you need to warm them up and get them inside immediately and call your doctor.
There is a lot to know about winter newborn safety. It is important to make sure that you are keeping your baby warm while at the same time, ensuring that they are not overheating. To learn about Tummy Time for babies, please check out one of our previous articles here.