Keeping your baby safe and secure is a priority in the hospital. To protect the safety of your newborn, we have a comprehensive infant security program.
Identification bands: Immediately following birth, infants and their parents receive matching identification bands with a bar code. High-quality, readable footprints of the infant are also taken. Photographs are also taken at certain NewYork-Presbyterian locations.
You and your baby must wear your identification (ID) bands while in the hospital. Our staff is expected to review the information on your hospital ID bands before giving you or your baby any medications, before tests, procedures, and X-rays, or when giving you your food tray.
If the ID band comes off or is unreadable, ask us to replace it.
Electronic monitoring: Another important layer of security is a state-of-the-art electronic monitoring system. A lightweight sensor is attached to the newborn's ankle. Any attempt to move an infant out of the monitored area toward an exit or elevator activates the security system, automatically setting off an alarm and locking all exit points leading from the maternity unit. Also, any unauthorized attempt to remove the sensor activates this signal.
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we want to work closely with you to provide individualized, compassionate care for you and your baby. We encourage you to get involved in your care and the care of your baby by asking any and all questions you may have.
Babyproofing your Home: General Baby Safety
As adults, it can be easy not to recognize everyday objects in our homes that could harm your baby. Learning about keeping your child safe at each stage of development is a great way to ensure your child grows up in a secure environment. Some things to bear in mind include:
- Never leave the baby alone, especially near water or any area that doesn't have guard rails
- Never shake your baby. If you feel overwhelmed and cannot soothe your child, place the baby in a safe place and call for help.
- Put window guards on all apartment windows
- Do not allow family pets near your baby without supervision
- Do not permit young siblings to play with the baby without supervision
- Discourage smoking in the home. It increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Wash your hands frequently and cough or sneeze into your elbow
- Secure TVs and other bulky items to prevent them from turning over
- Avoid crowds whenever possible
Burn Prevention for Babies
Babies are at an increased risk for burns as they do not yet understand the danger of fire and hot temperatures. Please ensure that you prevent babies and young children from coming in contact with hot temperatures until they can develop the skills to discern this risk for themselves.
- Never eat, drink, or carry hot food near your baby
- Always test bath water with your wrist or elbow before placing your baby in a tub
- Use power outlet protectors for wall outlets
- Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen and anywhere else flammable objects are stored
- Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the hallway outside the bedrooms and one on each floor
- If you use a vaporizer or humidifier, use cool water mist to avoid burns
As babies are too young to have complete control over their body movement, they should be placed into safe sleeping positions. This will prevent them from sleeping in a position that could make it difficult to breathe. You can ensure your baby has a safer sleeping environment by following a few tips.
- Place baby on their back to sleep. Sleeping on the back reduces the risk of SIDS.
- Crib bedding must be flat. Do not place pillows, toys, bumpers, or extra blankets in the baby's crib, as they could suffocate the baby.
- Do not sleep with your baby in your bed or while relaxing on the couch or chair.
- Babies should be placed at the foot of the crib and swaddled.
Preventing Baby Falls
Some helpful tips to minimize the risk of falls include:
- Never leave a baby unattended on an elevated surface such as a couch, chair, changing table, or bed
- Do not place infant carriers on elevated surfaces
- If you feel drowsy while holding your baby, even in a seated position, place the baby in a safe place like a crib or bassinette to prevent a fall
How to prevent the baby from falling off the bed
Use baby cribs with railings to prevent babies from falling out of their sleeping beds. Reduce the amount of time a baby spends on adult beds, especially unsupervised.
Choking is an ever-present risk for babies as they have smaller airways than adults and older children. Small round objects pose the most significant choking risk in babies, but babies must always be supervised while eating and drinking. Some of the most common choking hazards for babies include:
- Choking on milk
- Choking on spit
- Choking in their sleep
What should I do if my baby is choking?
If your baby is choking and has a strong cough, you should hold the baby upright or turn the infant on her side and allow the baby to cough until the airway clears. If a choking infant can no longer breathe, call 911 immediately.
While you wait for professional help, attempt to dislodge foreign object. Put the baby face down on your forearm with your arm should be resting on your thigh. With the back of your other hand, give the child five quick, forceful blows between the shoulder blades.
If the baby continues to choke, turn the infant on her back to lower the head to the chest. Now press two fingers in the center middle of the breast bone, just below the nipples. Press inward rapidly five times. Continue until the foreign object emerges or help arrives.
Never put your fingers into the infant's mouth unless you can see the object. Doing so may push the blockage farther into the airway.
When in a car, your child should be seated in a child's car seat. It is not safe to hold your baby in your lap. Here are some everyday care safety rules for babies and young children:
- A newborn baby should be in a backward-facing car seat until one year old and weigh at least 20 pounds
- The car seat should always be in the back seat, preferably in the middle
- Always ensure the car seat fits the baby's current size and weight
When is my baby too big for an infant car seat?
Car seats will come with size limits for their use, and it is essential to adhere to these. It is common for babies and young children to reach their weight limit on a car seat before reaching the height limit.
NewYork-Presbyterian is Here to Help You
It can be challenging to navigate safety concerns with a new baby. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we are here to help answer any safety questions or concerns you may have. In addition to consulting your primary care provider, NewYork-Presbyterian offers many safety resources for parents.