Check-in on Baby Safety
By Caitlin Bootsma
When it comes to baby safety, there are so many important tips out there. The National Safety Council, for example, helps caregivers consider risks like suffocation, safe sleep and other hazards around the house (check out that list here1). And of course, making sure you have the right car seat, properly installed, is essential for road safety (see some tips here2).
Yet, even when we check off all the practical things to keep the babies in our care safe, there are some other things to consider. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are taking care of babies or in this stage of parenting.
- Am I getting enough sleep? Especially to parents of newborns, getting sufficient sleep may seem impossible. But finding the time, even if it's during the day, is so important not only for your own health, but also so you have the capacity to take care of the baby. For caregivers of all other ages, having enough sleep allows you more mental faculties to react to mischief and frustrations in a calmer way.
- Am I checking in on my own mental health? If you're struggling after the birth of a baby, or any time as a caregiver, don't hesitate to talk to your medical provider.
- Do I have trusted people to help share in the care of my baby? Having an important team of care for a baby is essential! This includes a doctor, relatives or family friends you can ask for assistance, and even trusted people you can ask for advice as new challenges arise. Being a part of an established "mom" or "dad" group, or cultivating your own group can make a big difference. Seeing others who are experiencing children in similar stages of development can help ease your own stress and give you additional examples of how to manage.
- Do the people in contact with the baby know how to keep the baby safe? It's never too late to review safety protocols with other people sharing a household for a baby. For example, does big sister know not to pick the baby up when you're out of the room? Does everyone know they should ask the primary caretaker before giving the baby anything to eat or drink? Does everyone know how to specifically cut grapes and hot dogs or popcorn so that they aren't choking hazards? Does everyone know what toys cannot be out when the baby is around? Together, everyone can help keep the baby safe.
- Are there baby safety protocols I wish knew more about? Taking care of young people, and especially babies, is a learning process. You may have sleep routines down, but wonder if you should learn more about baby CPR or introducing foods to the baby. Consider taking the time to learn something new about the best way to help the baby in your care grow up safely. There are plenty of websites that can help in this!
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