Protecting your Baby’s Health around Other People

Babies, especially in the first few months of life, are susceptible to illness because their immune systems are not yet developed. When your baby has visitors or goes out in public, take precautions to make sure he doesn’t get sick. Even a simple cold can be devastating to a newborn, so keep your guard up at all times.

Clean Hands are Healthy Hands

Whenever someone comes to visit your new baby, be sure to ask them to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to touching the baby. Don’t worry about coming off as rude or over-protective. Anyone who isn’t willing to clean their hands before touching the baby is probably not someone you want around your precious little one anyway! Keep hand sanitizer readily available, and remind visitors to use it regularly throughout the visit, especially if they have touched their eyes, mouth or nose, or have been petting your dog or cat. Be an example for others by making sure that you are just as fastidious about hand cleanliness.

When you take baby out, it’s best to simply ask strangers not to touch him at all. This might seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many people think it’s ok to touch a baby they don’t know in public places like grocery stores and shopping centers. Be on your guard! It can be difficult to tell that well-meaning grandmotherly type to keep her hands off, but your baby’s health is more important than a stranger’s feelings. If you get tired of telling people not to touch, keep baby covered up by draping a blanket over her carrier. Some parents even put a sign on the stroller or car seat asking people not to touch the baby.

Keep Sick People Away

Again, it seems like common sense, but many people don’t realize the impact their little case of the sniffles or scratchy throat can have on a newborn baby. RSV, a very serious respiratory disease in infants, can appear as a mild cold in adults. A newborn can wind up in the hospital or worse over that “mild cold”, so it’s best to just keep sick people away from your baby altogether until they are completely symptom free.

It’s very hard to prevent any contact with someone who might be sick, especially if you have to return to work and your baby is cared for by someone else either at home or in a day care environment. You can’t always stay home to avoid sending baby to a sick grandma’s house. When your baby must be around someone who is ill, ask them to take extra precautions. Hand washing or sanitizing is even more vital in this situation. Caregivers should also take care not to leave used tissues lying around, and not to cough or sneeze too close to baby. In warm weather, spending time outdoors is a good idea to keep baby from being cooped up in a germ-laden environment. And if the caregiver is a family member, remind them not to give baby any kisses until they are feeling better.

You can’t protect your baby from every possible illness, but by making sure the people around her both at home and in public are as careful as you are, you can lower the risk considerably. Speak up for your baby, and insist on safe habits at all times.

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