Newsletter January – February 2014: Pediatrician’s Corner
As a parent, bathing your baby may raise more questions than answers. Here are some things to keep in mind when bathing your baby.
- Always keep your eyes and at least one hand on your baby. Do NOT use a bath seat to hold your baby up or leave them alone.
- Prevent burns – the hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). You may be able to adjust the temperature at the water heater, or if you are renting, talk to your landlord.
- In the first year, babies don’t need a bath every day. Wash your baby’s diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes. A bath 3 times a week may be enough – more often might lead to dry skin.
- Start at the top – wash and rinse your baby’s head and face first then move on to the body, arms, and legs. Use a clean, wet washcloth on the face and outside of the ears.
For toddlers and preschoolers, bath time might mean play time, but there are also some things to keep in mind, for safety’s sake.
- As with babies, the temperature of the water should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius).
- Never leave your child alone in the bath – children can drown in only a few inches of water.
- Put a cushioned cover over the water faucet so your children won’t be hurt if they bump their heads on the faucet.
- No-slip strips can be installed on the bottom of the bathtub. Even with these strips in place, young children shouldn’t stand in the tub.
You may be hearing more about whooping cough (also called pertussis) from your child’s doctor, other parents, at child care, or on the news. Whooping cough usually starts with a cough and runny nose for 1 to 2 weeks. This is followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. The disease may be more serious in young children – especially those less than one year old. If your child has these symptoms, contact your child’s doctor. In San Diego County last year there were over 360 cases of pertussis reported – and there continue to be many new cases each week.
The best way to protect your child from whooping cough is make sure they have been vaccinated against pertussis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get doses of DTaP vaccine (which offers protection against pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus) at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. Also, a Tdap booster shot is recommended for preteens and adults – so make sure you have had your booster and that older siblings are protected.