Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keeping Your Preemie Safe

One of the big areas that new parents often hear a lot about is baby safety. There are a ton of great safety products out there for keeping your home baby proofed and safe from exploring little people. However preemie parents need to think beyond normal baby proofing and consider baby products and how safe they are for their babies.

The March of Dimes has a great page on Baby Safety. Here are some additional tips for keeping your preemie safe in baby gear or with toys that may not be designed for them.

1) Weight - Many preemies come home weighing less than 5 pounds so car seats can be a big issue. Make sure you check the weight requirements and belt position before buying one. Check my list of car seats for ones that are ideal for preemies. This is also true for other products like Baby Bjorn and some toys. While it may not seem that important - often the weight/size requirement is there to ensure proper positioning during use.

2) Actual/Adjusted age - Remember to use products that are appropriate to your preemie's adjusted age. Your preemie won't get the maximum benefit (and may not be developmentaly or physically ready) for a toy that is made for someone older.

3) Physical abilities - if your preemie has some physical issues or limitations than make sure you choose toys or equipment that will fully support them and enable them to use the item. This is important for equipment such as infant baths. My daughter has low muscle tone so we had to use a bath that allowed her to lay back with support but was also big enough to accommodate her. I like to choose toys that transition through phases such as tummy time, sitting and then standing. This allows you (and your preemie) to get the most use out of the product.

4) Small parts - some preemies tend to be mouth objects a lot longer than full term babies. Make sure that any toy you give your preemie doesn't have small parts (this goes back to the issue of choosing toys that fit their developmental abilities vs. actual age).

To check out potential products and toys for your preemie, here are some of my favorite
preemie products.

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