Right around now is when many parents start to really appreciate all the intense brain development their babies have experienced since birth. By 7 weeks old, your baby’s brain has grown several centimeters in size — and you can easily see the result of all that brain growth. Most babies by now are reacting to, and even recognizing, their surroundings and the people in their lives. You can help this process by providing lots of stimulation. Talk and sign to your baby. Read books, even if they don’t really know what a “book” is. Play music, make noise, and play with toys. Your baby’s brain grows through stimulation — so provide lots of it!
Most babies have already spent time outdoors by this age, too, but it’s always a good idea to brush up on the safety (and convenience) considerations involved with travel, especially car seat safety.
Car seat safety
The statistics are astounding: an estimated 73 percent of car seats aren’t installed or used correctly, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. The most common car seat errors include wearing the harness too loose on your baby or not angling the car seat at the proper angle (which should be 45 degrees) to best support your baby’s breathing.
Once outside of the car, babies can be safely carried in strollers or worn in a variety of devices. If you’re baby wearing, here are some do’s and don’ts:
- DO make sure your baby’s face isn’t covered while carrying him or her.
- DON’T wear your baby during rocking or shaking activities, like biking, running, or skating — these actions may be too much for your baby to absorb.
- DO always check your carrier before putting it on for any tears, sharp areas, or ripped seams.
- DON’T press your baby’s face against your clothing. Facing outward is preferred.
Forgotten baby syndrome
As hard as it is to believe, every year there are too many tragic cases of babies left in hot cars. This phenomenon is referred to as forgotten baby syndrome (FBS). Even if you’re positive this could never happen to your family, it still makes sense to take precautions. If you’re deviating from your usual routine, and you have your baby with you, try leaving something crucial in the backseat, like your purse or a shoe, when you get into the car. This way, you’ll be assured to look in the backseat if you’re rushing out of the car later. Or you can take the National Highway Safety Administration’s advice and “look before you lock.”