Infant Safety Tips
Keep your baby safe at home by following these tips from Virginia Hospital Center.
Prepare Your Home
Get your home ready for your baby. To protect your baby’s safety:
- Create a smoke-free house. If you smoke, wash your hands, brush your teeth and change your clothes before holding your baby, and never smoke around your baby. Do not allow others to smoke near your baby.
- Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home and in the halls outside of each bedroom.
- Prepare your pets by bringing home a piece of clothing or a blanket with your baby’s scent from the hospital. Never leave your baby alone with your pet.
- Set your water heater to 125 degrees to avoid scalding water when you bathe your baby
To create a safe sleeping environment for your baby:
- Choose a one-piece sleeper for your baby to sleep in. Avoid long nightgowns or pajamas with drawstrings.
- Have a separate sleeping space for your baby, such as a crib, bassinet or cradle.
- Have a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet. Do not put a bumper pad, pillows or fluffy blankets in the crib.
- Keep your baby’s sleeping area away from blinds, cords, electrical outlets and mobiles.
- Put your baby to sleep on their back for the first four months. Never put your baby on a pillow to sleep.
Your Baby’s Health
To protect your baby from getting sick:
- Avoid crowds for the first two months.
- Keep all well-baby appointments with your pediatrician to check your baby’s developmental milestones and make sure your baby gets the care they need.
- Get vaccines your doctor recommends.
- Wash your hands before and after you hold your baby.
Help your baby get the nutrients they need to grow and develop. You should:
- Feed your baby only breastmilk or formula for the first four months of their life. Babies are more likely to be obese or have type II diabetes when they have solid food before four months old.
- Stay awake during feedings to keep your baby safe. Turn on the lights or ask your partner or a support person to keep you company while you nurse or feed your baby.
- Use a bottle warmer to evenly heat milk or formula. Test the warmth on the inside of your forearm before you feed your baby.
To keep your baby safe while playing:
- Choose baby-safe toys, such as mobiles they can’t reach, soft baby books and toys without hard parts.
- Keep an eye on older children and do not leave them alone to play with or near your baby.
Enjoy bathing your baby while keeping them safe. Be sure to:
- Wait to bathe your baby until their umbilical cord falls off.
- Fill a tub with only an inch of water.
- Keep water temperature lower than 95 degrees. Test bath water before you place your baby in it or run water on their body.
- Use soap for sensitive skin.
- Never leave a baby alone in a bathtub.
Keep your baby safe in the car. Make sure to:
- Buy a new rear-facing infant car seat. Avoid buying a used car seat because car seats that have been in an accident or are older are no longer effective.
- Learn how to use the car seat before you take your baby home from the Hospital.
- Have staff at your local police or fire station check your car seat installation.
Infant CPR & First Aid
Be ready to care for your baby if they need medical attention or CPR. You’ll want to:
- Inform your family members and caregivers about the current best practices for infant safety
- Take infant CPR classes for parents and encourage your family to take a CPR course for infant safety