Whoa, baby!

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Babies should be comfortable as the temperature dips, but parents should take care not to overdo it, experts say. Some advice:

AT HOME

• A temperature that is comfortable for adults is plenty comfortable for babies.

• Dress baby one layer warmer than what you're wearing. Check the back of baby's neck, not hands and feet, to assess body temperature.

• Additional blankets at sleep time can be a suffocation hazard.

• Don't use space heaters in baby's room.

OUT AND ABOUT

• Bulky clothes can interfere with car-seat straps.

• Blankets draped over car seats can overheat and asphyxiate a baby.

• Additions to car seats, such as sheepskin covers, should be assessed by a professional to make sure they don't interfere with the seat's function.

ON SWADDLING

• Not all babies need to be swaddled, but swaddling can be helpful for colicky babies.

• Stop swaddling at 3 months, or when baby can roll.

• Keep baby's head free at all times. Be sure any loose blanket is folded to the inside.

• A blanket is too tight when you can't slide your hand between the blanket and baby's chest.

• Be sure to check for overheating. Cool fingers and toes do not mean a baby is cold. Use the back of baby's neck instead. If the neck is hot or sweaty, unwrap baby.

Sources: Columbus Public Health, Yvonne Gustafson

To ask a question about baby safety, call the Elizabeth Blackwell Parent Help Line at (614) 566-4446.