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Baby Care – The Proper Environment

The baby’s Room. A newborn infant may share the parent’s bedroom
for the first few months, but even if this is the case, a separate room
should be planned and equipped so that everything is conveniently at
hand for the main activities in the baby’s life: nursing, body hygiene,
and diaper changing.

The room itself should be warm and well ventilated. A constant
temperature of 68° to 72°F (20° to 22°C) is advisable for any baby who
weighs less than 8 pounds (3.6 Kg), but as the baby grows and puts on
weight, the nighttime temperature may be allowed to drop slightly. It
is important that the air in the room is not dry. If possible, place a
humidifier in the room to keep the air warm and moist.

Every baby needs fresh air but should be protected from drafts,
so make sure that the crib is not next to an open window when the baby
is asleep. In cold weather, the room should be aired when the baby is
not occupying it.

Lightning. For the convenience of the parents, the room should
be well lighted, but newborn infants are unable to adjust their eyes to
a bright light. A ceiling light therefore should have a low-power bulb
or a dimmer attachment on the light switch. A small table lamp is
useful, particularly when placed on the dresser to illuminate the
contents of the drawers.

Even a small baby becomes quickly bored by having nothing to
look at. A mobile above the bassinet or crib may hold the infant’s
attention, as will brightly colored pictures fixed within the baby’s
field of vision.

Furniture and Equipment. The most important piece of furniture
in the baby’s room is the bed. The most suitable first bed for a
newborn infant is a bassinet, straw basket, or portable crib because a
tiny baby feels more secure in a fairly small space. If the baby is
going to sleep in a crib, put bumper pads around the edge and wrap the
baby firmly so that he or she feels secure.

The mattress must be firm and smooth and should fit the bed
snugly. Never use a pillow instead of a mattress-use a foam pad at
least one inch (25mm) thick, and make sure that the waterproof cover
fits tightly over the mattress. If you are using a straw or cane
bassinet, line the inside with material to prevent the baby from
catching or scratching the fingers or face on rough edge. This also
helps to prevent drafts. A baby under the age of one year should never
be given a pillow for the head.

A low, comfortable chair with armrests and a straight back is
another important item in the baby’s room. The chair can be used for
feeding with the bottle or nursing at the breast; or the parent can sit
in the chair and change the baby’s diaper on the lap instead of on a

All the equipment needed during a diaper change should be within
reach so that the parent does not have to leave an infant unattended on
the changing surface. A shelf attached to the side of the changing
table is useful for storing cream, powder, cotton, and diapers. If this
is not possible, make sure that there is a working surface at the
correct height next to the changing area. Overhead shelves are
convenient, but can be dangerous since a jar or bottle could fall on
the baby.

Place two buckets with lids for dirty diapers and clothes by the
side of the changing area. A wastebasket also should be beside the
changing area for used pieces of cotton.

There should be a plastic bathtub on a sturdy stand in the room
and a rack on which to hang towels and a facecloth. It is more suitable
to bathe a small baby in his or her room because the temperature is
more easily maintained than in an adult bathroom. Even if the room is
centrally heated, it may be necessary to boost the room temperature
with a heater before bath time. The heater can be either of the
radiator type or an electrical heater placed high on the wall.

If parents intend always to feed the baby in his or her own
room, a separate low table or cart should be set aside for nursing and
feeding articles.

A dresser is useful for storing sheets, blankets, towels,
diapers, and clean clothing. As the baby grows out of clothes, they
should be stored elsewhere to ensure that the dresser does not become

Safety. When planning and equipping a baby’s room, safety
factors should always be kept in mind. Babies quickly become mobile; it
is often not until a near-accident occurs that the parents realize how
active the baby is.

All the furniture in the room should be strong and stable so
that a crawling infant is not able to overturn it. The windows should
have safety stops on them so that they cannot be opened wide enough for
the child to crawl out of. As an alternative, parents can fix bars
(vertical ones) over the window. If there are electrical outlets at
ground level, cover them with outlet covers (which are available at
hardware or department stores) or place a piece of heavy furniture in
front of them because the crawling child will soon try poking something
into the plug.

Cribs should be selected carefully. Bars should be less than 2.5
inches (6.25cm) apart, so that the child cannot get stuck or choke.
There must be no peeling paint. Once the crib is set upComputer Technology Articles, do not tie to
the bars anything in which the child might become entangled.

Never use an unguarded space heater in a baby’s room. Liquid fuel heaters are also dangerous and should not be used.

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