Tips from the Doctor

Here are some essentials for the protection of your newborn child.

  1. Always put your child to sleep on his/her back. We have seen over a 33% drop in the number of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) cases since pediatricians have recommended this policy...
  2. Sleeping in the same bed with your baby has an increased risk of fatality due to suffocation or SIDS. Get in the right habit early and put your baby in its own bed.
  3. Never let your baby use a bottle as a pacifier, or go to sleep with a bottle. This will lead to severe tooth decay, or “bottle rot.”
  4. Walkers are not recommended for children. They allow children to be mobile and elevated before they are ready. Severe injuries and poisonings have been attributed to walker use. Let your child learn to walk on his/her own.
  5. Never leave your child unattended in a bath or any volume of water. Children drown quietly.
  6. Leaving your child on elevated surfaces (like countertops, tables and beds) is an invitation for a harmful fall. Children rarely get hurt when they are resting or playing on the floor.
  7. Tobacco has its well-established health risks to you and your baby, but it is also a fire-starter. If you can’t quit altogether, please don’t ever smoke in bed.
  8. Do not ever drive without putting your child securely into a proper car seat. It’s good practice, and it’s the law. While you are at it, please use a hand’s free device if you must use your mobile phone. Text messaging while driving is simply insane, unless your life’s dream is to win a Darwin Award.
  9. Be sure your house is “child-proof.” (See our child-proofing advice in this Doctor Tips section.) Child-proofing your house is extremely important to protect your child, as well as visiting children, from all sorts of horrible (yet totally preventable) calamities.


Child-proofing your home is vital to the health and well-being of your children.

  1. Electrical outlets should be protected by child plugs to avoid electrocution. You should also make sure that all blind cords are tied up, as these provide a strangling risk for the adventuresome toddler. Stairway gates and window locks are very helpful, and we encourage you to use them. It is best to get on the job for these items well before your child becomes mobile.
  2. Poisonings are preventable and you must actively keep all dangerous medications and chemicals out of your children’s reach. This means locking these things up in secure and elevated locations. Remember also that a majority of poisonings come from grandparents’ medications, so be vigilant when wonderfully loving relatives have come for a visit. Have poison control center numbers in obvious locations (we have stickers and magnets for you here at the office for free!).You can call the very helpful people at Poison Control (1-800-222-1222).
  3. Smoke detectors serve no purpose if the batteries are beyond their expiration date. Change your batteries every year! Consider using holidays like the Fourth of July (fireworks!), or Christmas (see all the pretty lights jammed into one outlet....). While you are at it, be sure to have carbon monoxide monitoring as well as at least one test for radon gas performed in your basement. You can get kits for these tests at places like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
  4. Hot water burns are totally preventable. Be certain that your hot water heater is set below 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that can lead to painful thermal damage to your child’s skin. Be sure to shield hot spots like your fireplace or your stovetops in the kitchen.
  5. Firearms should be unloaded and locked into storage with the ammunition stored separately. Far too many fatalities occur through gun accidents in the home. These can be entirely prevented with responsible ownership practices.
  6. If you have a swimming pool, it is vital that you take every precaution to protect your children from accidental drowning. Remember, children drown quietly.