Friday, 8 February 2013

Dressing your baby for safety

When someone makes mention of infant clothing, our minds usually leap to associations with expectant mothers in their anticipatory bliss, scouring the racks for cuddly animal-inspired vestments and the like. But sentimental attachments aside, there are very good reasons to give much thought to the wardrobe of your infant: their safety depends upon it. Here are some basic criteria for ensuring your infant's clothing does not pose them a safety hazard:

Make sure sleepwear fits snugly: Many a seasoned parent will tell you that one way to exercise frugality in baby expenses is to buy clothing that is slightly on the large side. This makes good sense, as your child will be less likely to outgrow it so quickly. This is fine advice to follow for daywear. However, sleepwear needs to be snug fitting. One good reason for this is in order to prevent suffocation. Your sleeping infant should have no loose objects, garments, or textiles with them in their bassinet or crib: they should be placed in their area of sleep simply with the garments they wear and nothing else.

Consider using wearable blankets: Since you cannot keep your baby warm by draping a blanket over the child the way you sleep with a blanket over yourself, seek alternatives that keep your baby warm without the risks of suffocation: wearable blankets are an excellent solution for this problem.

Avoid over-dressing your baby: The temptation with new parents is to err on the side of over-bundling their children. It's an easy enough mistake to make: babies look so tiny and helpless, and in need of all the protection they can get from the outside elements. However, over-dressing your baby poses a risk of overheating, which could lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The rule of thumb for deciding just how many layers (and of what material and thickness) you should be dressing your baby in is this: look at your own clothing which you have deemed to be comfortable and appropriate for the day's climate, dress the infant similarly, and add one more layer to that for the baby.

Steer clear of embellishments: Clothing with buttons and loose ornamentation like sequins or bows should be avoided. Your child will surprise you with how soon he or she begins to explore and play with their surroundings, and you don't want to discover this through the nasty surprise of discovering them choking on an object they loosened from their garments. This does not mean you must forgo clothing with any semblance of aesthetic appeal, however. For example, clothing that has embroidered or printed designs on it is both safe and attractive.

When possible, opt for fire-retardant clothing: This is more important with sleepwear, since you may be asleep when your child is, and may not be alerted to the dangers of a fire until it is well under way. This is actually much easier than it sounds, and does not involve seeking out highly specialized products from very limited sources. In fact, much of baby sleepwear is flame retardant; to learn if this is the case for a specific item, simply check the label. It will say that it is if this is the case.