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Healthy Baby

February 12, 2015

Mouth Wash

One of the greatest blessings is becoming a parent for the first time. We have many questions on how care for this new bundle of joy.

Aside from perfecting the blanket swaddle and finding a feeding style that is just right, there are other important things you must know that many do not give much thought - such as mouth care.

Article Photos

Ansyl, 7 months

It is important to take care of your baby's mouth and gums before they get teeth, as well as their new teeth once they come in.

Follow these tips for a healthy mouth:

Use a damp washcloth to wipe your infant's gums after each feeding.

Do not ever put your infant to bed or naptime with milk or juice. Water should be used for bedtime bottles.

Begin using a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your child's mouth as soon as there is a sign of a first tooth.

If your baby uses a pacifier, don't dip it in anything like sugar or honey.

Having a new baby is hard but following these important steps will help with better dental checkups.

Children who are accustomed to having their gums wiped and teeth brushed every day will be more comfortable in a dental setting later.

- Jessica Cerullo-Landis, registered dental hygienist, Drs. T.J. Ameredes and Matt Karnoupakis, Wheeling


Delay the Turnaround

Although new guidelines have been out for four years that children ages 2 and under should rear-face in their car seats, almost one-quarter of parents report they turned the seat around before their child was even 1, according to a new University of Michigan study.

The recommendation: The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011 extended guidelines for rear-facing car seat use from 1 year old and 20 pounds to a minimum of 2 or until a child has outgrown the weight/height limits of the seat.

The study: U-M researchers asked parents when they moved to a forward-facing seat in two national surveys.

In 2011, 33 percent of parents said they turned the child around at or before 12 months. Sixteen percent reported waiting until 2 years or older.

In 2013, 24 percent of parents still turned their children face forward at or before 12 months. Twenty-three percent reported waiting to turn until 2 or older.

The issue: Motor-vehicle collisions remain a leading cause of death among children in the U.S., in part because child passengers continue to be unrestrained, and 20 percent of 1- to 3-year-olds and nearly half of 4- to 7-year-olds do not use the recommended restraint for their age.

"There are lots of reasons why parents are eager to change from the rear-facing to forward-facing seat: the perception their children are too large, the desire to see their children when driving, and a greater ease of removing their children from a forward facing seat," says study author Dr. Michelle L. Macy, of the U-M's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

"But delaying the switch can make a big difference. In Sweden, it is culturally accepted that children up to age 4 are in rear-facing seats and child traffic fatalities are among the lowest in the world."

Helmet Head?

Head deformity is more common as caregivers follow doctor's orders to lay infants on their backs to sleep. Although a flat head often becomes rounder as the infant grows, the question remains, do you treat it using a helmet? A German study published in November in the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal may provide the answer: Only a slight improvement was seen after six months of helmet use among babies with mild to moderate deformities.



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