Advice from Dr Cheong Hon Kin on Baby Safety

By Dr Cheong Hon Kin

Dr Cheong Hon Kin, Consultant Paediatrician & NeonatologistBaby safety – from hospital to home

According to the International Liaison Committee On Resuscitation, at every birth, potential problems can happen even to a newborn with no apparent risk factors and about 10% of newborns would need some form of help with breathing. Newborns who do not start breathing on their own in one minute after birth should receive help to breath.

Care of all newborns includes immediate and thorough drying, keeping the baby warm, skin to skin contact of the newborn with the mother, cord clamping and cutting after the first minutes after birth, and early initiation of breastfeeding.

One of the most feared potential problems is sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC) of apparently healthy term or near-term infants within the first days of life which can have catastrophic consequences. About 5% of unexpected infant deaths during the first year of life occur during the first postnatal week. Prone position, cobedding, a first time mother, and parents left alone with baby during first hours after birth have been identified as risk factors for SUPC or early SIDS in several recent publications. Never ever sleep together with your baby in the same bed because of the risk of smothering and suffocating your own baby especially in the first year of life.

Providing a safe environment is an important part of caring for your new baby. Most injuries to babies do not occur by chance or by bad luck, and are not an act of fate. By their very nature, babies are active, curious and often excitable. These are all attributes that put them at risk of injury. As a parent or carer, you can do a lot to prevent injury to your baby.

If you understand a child’s development, this will help you plan ahead for safety. Different risks appear at every stage of development and change takes place very rapidly in the early months and years.

To make sure your baby is safe at all times you should:

  1. Take your baby home from hospital in a car seat or other suitable child restraint that faces the back of the car.
  2. Make sure your baby travels in a child restraint at all times in a vehicle.
  3. Provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby – this includes taking precautions to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), which includes SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and fatal sleep accidents.
  4. Provide a safe environment at home.
  5. Check the safety of your environment when you are away from home.

Last but not least, the common use of swing cradles in our community is actually not recommended. This is because the swinging no matter how gentle can cause whiplash injury to the baby. This kind of inflicted head injury while unintended could be life-threatening. We have seen many babies dying due to this injury. There ought to be greater public awareness on these kinds of potential dangers to our precious little ones that can happen in our own homes.

KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital
Suite 1-16
26, Jalan Raja Dihilir, 30350 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 05-2408777 Ext: 8027 / 8028
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