Tips for taking your newborn baby out for a walk
Getting outside and going for a walk is one of the best things new parents can do for themselves — as well as for their baby. The fresh air that you will experience is great for your mental health, especially considering how stressful those first days home with a newborn can be. While on your next neighborhood walk, be sure to keep yourself and your baby safe by following these simple tips.
Remain in residential areas
When out for a walk with your baby, we always recommend staying in a residential area such as a quiet neighborhood, road, or park. Residential areas and parks are often safer for a number of reasons. Neighborhoods include more homes, and therefore have more people out and about. Being a public place, parks will often have more people as well. When there are other people surrounding you, crime is less likely to occur.
In addition to being around others and feeling safer, residential areas often have less vehicular traffic and the speed limit is much slower. By remaining in calmer, quieter, residential areas you will be around less traffic, keeping your baby away from any potential car accidents.
Strap your baby into the stroller properly
Before heading out on your walk, always make sure that your child is properly strapped into their stroller. Check the straps and ensure that they fit snugly around your baby but aren’t too tight. Double check that none of the straps or clips are pressing against your baby’s neck, and make sure that their head is properly supported as newborns still lack strength in their neck muscles.
Some stroller straps can be made of rough material that may be uncomfortable on your newborn's delicate skin. Investing in strap covers that are made out of softer material can help with this. Most newborn babies will be too small to ride in the regular stroller seat and will remain in their carseat, which clicks into the stroller. If your stroller seat or car seat doesn’t offer enough head support for your newborn, you may want to get some head support pillows for the seat.
If your newborn falls asleep in their car seat, you’ll want to make sure their head is turned to the side, as this is the natural position for breathing. You do not want your baby’s head to be pushed forward or for their neck to be covered in any way.
Utilize crosswalks and obey traffic rules
When walking with your baby, always obey traffic rules and utilize sidewalks and crosswalks. Never attempt to cross a busy street without using a crosswalk, even if it seems like there are no cars coming. Drivers can speed and may not be paying attention, and it’s simply not worth the risk. Generally it is recommended to “walk on the left, and ride on the right,” meaning you should walk against traffic, and ride with traffic when riding on a bike. Always walk slowly and pay attention to any passing vehicles. If a car needs to pass you, it is more safe to stop and let them drive by before continuing on your walk, especially if you’re walking on a street without a sidewalk.
Pay attention at all times
One of the most important tips for taking a baby out for a walk is to pay attention at all times. Whether there are vehicles or other people around, it is extremely important to always remain fully aware of your surroundings. It may be tempting to pull out your phone and catch up on your emails while pushing the stroller with one hand but we recommend keeping your phone stowed away and just taking in your surroundings. You never know when an inattentive driver will speed by or a stinging insect may land on your baby. By continuously paying attention, you are able to intervene faster in the event of a safety risk, ultimately keeping yourself and your baby out of harm's way.
Plan ahead with protective clothing
Evaluate the weather before you leave and decide what types of protective measures you should plan for. If you live in a very sunny area, you may want to dress your baby with a protective sun hat. Bug spray or a mosquito net may be a wise decision if you live in a particularly buggy area. Weather is extremely unpredictable and you may want to prepare with an umbrella, rain coat, or extra blanket. Sometimes it can feel warm when heading out for a walk, then a breeze goes by, and you wish you’d bundled your baby up just a little bit more.
Be prepared for an emergency
Just in case anything happens, you should have your phone in an accessible spot, in case you need to call 911. Keeping a first aid kit and water bottle in the stroller is also helpful. Think about any other emergency supplies than you may need such as emergency medications and be sure to have them with you for your walk.
Bring comfort items for your baby
If your baby has any comfort items that they like such as a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or pacifier, be sure to bring them along for the ride. This will help your baby feel comfortable and at ease while in the stroller and may help you extend your walk even longer than initially planned. If you make sure your baby is super comfortable, they may even fall asleep, allowing you some peace and quiet.
Taking your newborn baby out for a walk is one of the best ways to get out of the house in those early days just after your baby is born. If you’re feeling some fear about taking such a young baby outside, rest assured, with the right preparations your baby will remain perfectly safe.
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