Dr. Kristie Rivers is an Attending Physician, Assistant Medical Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist Program, and Director of Pediatric Medical Education at a children’s hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A newborn baby at home may mean cabin fever for you. How soon can you take your little one out in public, and what should you do to prepare? Dr. Kristie Rivers talks infections, viruses, and pets when it comes to your 7-week-old baby.
Bundoo: Are there concerns about taking a 7-week-old baby out into public? What would you say to parents who feel they shouldn’t take their babies out by 7 weeks?
Dr. Kristie Rivers: Before babies have been given their 2-month shots, parents should use caution and common sense when taking their baby out of the house. If your baby gets sick at this age, he or she is still at risk of developing a severe infection. Parents should avoid crowded areas if possible, as well as sick contacts.
Are there are any steps parents should take to protect babies this age from viruses and other infections?
Parents should use common sense when taking their baby out of the house at 7 weeks old. If they must be in a crowded area, it may be a good idea to keep the baby in the stroller with the protective covering or blanket over the top of the carrier. Also, wash your hands frequently, and don’t hesitate to ask visitors to wash theirs as well before holding your baby.
The rules for infant carriers are always changing. What advice do you give parents who come to you with questions about safe car seats, strollers, and other baby transportation products?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a great resource for new parents who want up-to-date, reliable information about safe car seats and strollers. New federally mandated safety standards are in effect as of September 2015 and are designed to protect infants and young children from numerous injuries that can occur. Consumer Reports is another great resource where parents will find product ratings, buying guides, and a variety of great information.
Especially in the hot summer months, it seems like we’re reading more stories about babies being left in cars. Do you have any tricks or tips you can give parents to help prevent this? What would you say to parents who think, “That would NEVER happen to me!”
Parents should never think they are safe from this terrible accident. A momentary lapse or a change in routine can throw anyone off, especially in those first few sleep-deprived months. A good habit to get into is leaving a familiar personal object such as a cell phone or purse in the back of the car as an instant reminder. An extreme but very practical solution is removing one of your shoes and leaving it in the back seat as a sure fire way to prevent this tragic mistake.
When it comes to babies and other people’s pets, are there things such as allergies or aggression you are concerned about as a doctor?
Pets can be unpredictable around infants and young children, particularly if they are not used to them in their home. Even small dogs not known to be aggressive can inadvertently hurt an infant if left unsupervised. It is wise to keep your 7-week-old out of the reach of pets in other people’s homes to play it safe.
Seven-week-olds are likely too young to develop an allergy to pets in someone else’s home, as an allergy requires repeated exposure. However, be on the lookout in the upcoming weeks and months for signs such as chronic congestion and watery eyes as a sign your baby may be developing allergies.