We keep babies safe and physically protected when we:
Refuse to leave a child alone in a house or car
Always use car seats when traveling with a child in a car
Use safe toys, cribs, and other infant equipment
Carefully supervise a baby on a changing table, in an infant seat, and in a shopping cart
Set firm limits on a baby-sitter's activities, and remind the sitter that the infant comes first
Allow other young children to be around the baby only with constant supervision.
We ensure physical and emotional security when we meet our infants' needs with respect and caring. Infants learn to trust when we provide the following:
Adequate food but not overfeeding. If you are bottle-feeding a child, the child should be held and given eye contact during feedings; he should not be left with a "propped" bottle. The baby should be in charge of when and how much to eat unless a physician guides otherwise. (It's OK to "waste" an ounce here or there.)
Touch, including frequent skin-to-skin, not just skin-to-clothing, contact. Touch that hurts, such as pinching a baby's cheeks, is not appropriate. Touch that surprises, such as tickling or "raspberries," sometimes delights babies and sometimes overwhelms them. Let the baby be in charge.
Warm clothing. Dressing the child as warmly or as lightly as you dress yourself is a convenient rule of thumb unless the infant gives clear signals that her thermostat is different from yours.
Prompt attention to distress. Children should never cry for more than fifteen minutes without an adult reassuring
Dry diapers. Some children are more tolerant than others of wet or dirty diapers. This may depend on what type of diaper is used. It is important that all children have this area of their bodies cleaned in matter-of-fact and nonsexual ways so
that they learn about the acceptability of their genitalia. Touching a child in a sexually stimulating way is always wrong.
If you suspect abuse of any kind, find a way to protect your child.
Get help if you need it. Report the abuser to the child protection service in your area.
Christine Ternand, M.D.
Source: HELP! For Parents of Children from Birth to Five: Tried and True Solutions to Parents' Everyday Problems, author Jean Illsley Clarke, First rev ised Edition, 1993
Copyright 2000 by Jean Illsley Clarke, Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, All Rights Reserved.