Properly installing the infant car seat for the ride home - and every ride
Infant car seats are designed for rear-facing use only. Yes, it may be painful not to see your new bundle of joy’s face in the rearview mirror every two seconds, but safety first. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they are two years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer (check the car seats packaging).
The most common problem involving car seats is improper installation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of car seats are installed incorrectly. LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) car seats have become standard in the United States, but a large percentage of these seats are improperly installed, too. Ugh. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and keep them handy for future use. Many hospitals, police and fire stations, and even car dealerships offer this type of service for free. Make sure someone trained and experienced does the evaluation.
Meeting the rest of the family - pets too!
Introducing your baby to others at home can be challenging, to say the least. If you have older kids, be sure to spend some quality time with each of them. Some parents bring home gifts from the new baby for big brothers and sisters. At first, you may see some jealousy, especially if the main focus of your attention for several years suddenly has new competition. Encourage siblings to "help" you care for this newest family member. That may never dissipate - just ask my younger sisters! But regardless, the initial strong feeling of jealousy will subside with some time and strategic overtures.
If you have a pet, ask your partner to bring home a blanket with the baby's scent on it and place it near the pet - even before leaving the hospital. Then, when you come home, the pet will already be somewhat familiar with the baby. Have your pet meet the baby outside, before bringing them into their new home. Pets can exhibit jealous traits, similar to humans, so remember to never leave pets alone with newborns.
Be prepared for a medical emergency – get your infant CPR certification
Would you know what to do if your baby stopped breathing? Infants usually don’t need CPR for the same reasons that adults do. Adults typically require CPR because of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency resulting from complications due to coronary artery disease (CAD), while children and infants tend to require resuscitation because of a respiratory issue that leads to cardiac arrest. If you don’t feel prepared to respond to a medical emergency involving your infant, don’t hesitate to learn CPR, a procedure that consists of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Hopefully, you’ll never be in the position of having to perform CPR on your baby but it could happen. Undergoing infant CPR training will ensure that you’re prepared in case an unfortunate emergency occurs. Administering CPR could save your baby’s life if his heart stops beating or he isn’t breathing adequately. Consider getting the grandparents and all caregivers their infant CPR certification as well.
In infant CPR classes, you’ll learn the step-by-step processes required to assess an infant and perform CPR. While it’s ideal to take a CPR class before your baby is born, it’s better late than never. Every parent should know how and when to perform CPR because administering CPR improperly may be harmful to your child.
Baby-proofing your home
Almost from the beginning, parents can’t wait for their child to start to crawl and move about. Once a baby enters into this stage, parents realize how easy things were in the beginning - and alternately, how much trickier they are now. This has lead to the creating of the baby safety movement, now offering parents a variety of childproofing products for even the most curious toddler. The most basic childproofing tip you must implement is to approach your home from your child’s point of view. This means getting down on your hands and knees to experience what they see and to make alterations from there. It’s up to you to decide the level of childproofing that meets your family’s needs. From outlet covers to cabinet and drawer locks, there are endless options available to keep your little one safe as they learn to explore.