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Classes, medical care will help ensure the safety of your baby

What can I do as a parent to make sure my baby is always safe?

As a parent there are many ways to keep your baby safe. It starts with the pregnancy. Making sure you keep your prenatal visits and following the advice of your medical care provider are very important. My last article was about the importance of you wearing a seat belt. Because by keeping yourself safe you protect your baby.

Also during your pregnancy there are opportunities to take classes to help prepare you for the birth of your baby. There are also classes that teach you about the care of your baby.

It is the law in Florida that every time you travel with your baby in a car, your baby should be in a car seat that is properly installed. There are several places for you to go to in Manatee County to have your car seat inspected to make sure it is safe. When you go to one of these locations, they will also talk to you about how to place your baby in the car seat. Manatee County has a very active Safe Kids Coalition that lists on its Web site, allkids.org, where you can go for the times and dates of these inspections.

Everyone at the hospital where you will deliver is doing everything they can to keep your baby safe. Our whole purpose is to help you have a safe delivery and a healthy baby.

I like to tell patients we are on their “team.” A team works together. While you are in the hospital there is a lot that you can do to help us help you keep your baby safe.

At the beginning of each shift your nurse will come in and introduce herself to you. If you have any questions about your baby always ask for your nurse. Your baby will be staying in your room with you. If you need to leave your room you can ask a family member to watch your baby or you can call your nurse and she will bring your baby to a safe place.

Your nurse will inform you if your baby needs any tests and will identify those people to you. Always call your nurse if you are not familiar with someone that wants to take your baby out of the room.

When you get home only let someone that you know and trust take care of your baby. On that same note do not give out any information about your baby to a stranger. That includes phone calls and unsolicited mail.

Babies should never be left alone. That includes in your car, in a shopping cart, anywhere.

Where your baby sleeps, what your baby drinks, how your baby is held, all affect your baby’s safety. Being informed on what is best for your baby is actually the best way of keeping her safe.

Katie Powers, R.N., is a board-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other week.

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