#Breastfeeding, #Babies, and #Blizzards – Oh, my!

The first snow of the season is upon us here in Connecticut and there are a few things you can do this winter to stay safe, including feeding baby in an emergency and safe car seat travel.

Feeding Baby

First, just by breastfeeding, you’re staying ahead of the curve. Especially when there is a power loss, babies who are fed by formula are at increased risk of getting sick by drinking formula with non-sterile water.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee highlight some amazing benefits of breastfeeding during an emergency, including that mothers make the perfect nutritional food for baby, breastfeeding keeps baby warm, and human milk is always clean, requires no fuel, water, or electricity, and is available, even in the direst circumstances.

If you need to use formula, the CDC recommends these tips:

  • Use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water.
  • If you prepare formula with boiled water, let the formula cool sufficiently before giving it to an infant.
  • Clean feeding bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled, or treated water before each use.
  • Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands if the water supply is limited.

In general, you should stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food in case of power loss. Here are more tips for preparing food for an emergency.

Car Safety in Cold Months

Without a doubt, you should not drive when roads are slick. If you do travel, make sure you are using the right car seat and that you are keeping baby both warm and safe.

Use a car seat

Using a car seat drastically reduces the risk of death of an infant or toddler in a car accident (by 71% and 54%, respectively).

There are variations to each car seat model, but in general, the CDC recommends these guidelines:

  • Infants should ride rear-facing until age two OR until they reach the weight or height limit of the rear facing car seat.
  • Children ages 2-5 should be in a forward-facing car seat until age five or until they reach the weight or height limit of their seat.
  • Children ages 5 and up should sit in a booster seat until they are big enough to be buckled properly in a car seat. Generally children should be about 57″ tall, and the lap belt should sit snugly across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and across the chest (not the neck).

Secure the straps snugly

  • You should be able to slip only one finger under the strap at the collar bone. If you can fit more than one finger, it’s too loose.
  • The chest clip should lay at armpit level, not on the stomach.
  • Here’s a video to help.

Beware of bulk

Bulky coats and snow suits impede your ability to snugly secure your child in the car seat. The Car Seat Lady explains it much more thoroughly in her post about fluff, and details how to in her video about winter car seat safety, but the gist of it is this:

The fluffy stuff in a coat makes it impossible to tighten the car seat straps snugly against your child’s body. If an accident were to occur, just like the steel of your car, the fluff would “crumple” and provide no form of security to your child, leaving him vulnerable to harsh whiplash and the possibility of being ejected from his car seat. Bulky outfits give the illusion of snugness, but when it comes to a crash, they provide no protection for your child.

During the cold months, you want to keep baby warm and safe. A few tips:

  • Go out five minutes early to start the car warming.
  • Take your child’s coat off in the car, and strap him in snugly. Then, if you need to, you can add a blanket on top to keep him warm (although be careful he doesn’t get over heated).
  • I dress my son in his coat backwards so that when we get to the car, all I need to do is unzip the back, put him in the seat and then take off his coat. It’s much less cumbersome than trying to hold him and get the coat off outside the car.
  • Dress your child in light layers. You can use long sleeve onesie and leggings as a base layer, with a shirt on top, and a thin, tight layer of fleece and a hat.

I hope these tips help you stay safe this winter.

Any other tips you would add?

 

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