Since childhood, home remedies and family secrets have been passed down from generation to generation about the best ways to care for newborns and infants. These become habits that are hard to break and that are performed automatically. However, modern research has proven that not all the so-called “safety tips” are safe in reality.
Take, for example, the use of Q-tips to clean the ears of a baby. What seems quite harmless can, in fact, cause harm to babies and adults alike.
FeedFond has collected 15 top baby tips that seem safe but can actually cause serious physical and psychological harm. Scroll down to find out more.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- #15 Sleeping alone in a room
- #14 Walkers and exersaucers
- #13 Toothpaste with fluoride
- #12 Baby seat in cars
- #11 Cow’s milk
- #10 Antibiotics for treating ear infection
- #9 Baby formula for infants
- #8 Medicating a fever
- #7 Baby Hats
- #6 Circumcision for infants
- #5 Infant rice cereal
- #4 Solid foods before turning six months
- #3 Fever medication after vaccination
- #2 For crying out loud
- #1 Using Q-tips to clean the ears
#15 Sleeping alone in a room
It’s a myth that it’s not good to share a bed with babies and that they’ll end up spoiled. On the contrary, infants and newborns need to be close to the parents—especially their breastfeeding moms—to boost their immunity. Moreover, the baby’s breathing is regulated and follows the breathing pattern of their parents’. It’s recommended to co-sleep with the baby for at least the first six months up to a year of the baby’s life. Parents just need to be careful so that they don’t accidentally cause suffocation to the baby.
#14 Walkers and exersaucers
Therapists are now against the use of toys and walkers because these haven’t been designed to give the right posture to the infants. Walkers and other similar devices have been used for years to help free up the hands of the parents. A healthier, safer option for parents is to have the baby in a babywear so that their hands are free and the child also feels the physical warmth of the parent, without the risk of poor posture and development from rockers, walkers, and other seating or standing toys.
#13 Toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride can be found in tap water, especially in areas with a high density of this chemical compound in their water. Although deemed safe, a research by Harvard University has linked lower IQ to children living in fluoridated areas. Other research has revealed that too much exposure to fluoride can cause low bone density, making people prone to fractures. Parents are advised to use fluoride-free toothpaste for their babies and use more natural substitutes like coconut oil instead. Special filtration systems can be used at homes to remove fluoride from water.
#12 Baby seat in cars
It’s best to have a child facing the rear instead of facing forwards for as long as possible—Sweden recommends until the age of 4. In case of a front-on collision, the child will be safer if facing the rear end of the car. Parents should be careful and check the buckle of the car seat belt to ensure it has been fastened properly. Make sure the chest clip is high enough and properly secured.
#11 Cow’s milk
Cow milk contains growth hormones for cattle that may cause breast cancer in humans. Goat’s milk is the closest to breastmilk and can be digested much more easily by infants and children than cow’s milk. When children turn 1 year old, many parents are choosing soy milk, goat milk, hemp, cashew or almond milk instead of cow’s milk.
#10 Antibiotics for treating ear infection
Even though babies may have recurring ear infections, doctors should not prescribe antibiotics until it’s absolutely necessary. Antibiotics hamper the development of a baby’s immune system, destroying the healthy bacteria in the gut. So, instead of antibiotics, parents can explore alternative medicines like those prescribed by homeopathy or even natural treatment using garlic mullein oil.
#9 Baby formula for infants
Nothing can replace the nutrients available in breast milk for newborns and infants. Moms with low milk production often resort to feeding infant formula to their babies. But they should try to stimulate milk production naturally by trying to feed the baby. It’s hard for some women, but don’t give up!
There are some moms who feel pain and too quickly reach out for the bottle. Before they do so, they should check the latch of the baby’s mouth. 10% babies have trouble with lips and tongues getting tied together and preventing them from sucking. Only in extreme cases should formula feeding be encouraged—for example, when moms cannot feed their newborn at all, putting the baby’s health at risk for malnutrition.
#8 Medicating a fever
It’s not always necessary to give medicines to babies when they have a fever. Fever is an indication that the body is functioning properly and that the immune system is trying to fight bacteria naturally by raising the body temperature. Masking the cause of an infection by treating a fever with medicine will not help the baby.
Fevers are not dangerous or fatal in babies. Parents are advised to consult a doctor when a baby less than three months old has a fever, as this may point to an infection they are susceptible to at this age.
#7 Baby Hats
Putting a hat on the newborn is practiced widely to keep the baby from losing its body temperature. But the truth is, babies can regulate their own body temperature just like adults. The little hats, in fact, hamper the skin-to-skin contact with mom and dad that can help regulate the body temperature and reinforce the bond.
#6 Circumcision for infants
Immediate circumcision of infants is not recommended as the trauma can affect neurological processes and brain damage. Other risks of circumcision include meatitis, meatal stenosis, infection, redundant foreskin, hemorrhage, penile adhesions, buried penis, phimosis, urethrocutaneous fistulae, glandular amputation, iatrogenic hypospadias, glandular necrosis, chordee, and even death.
Approximately 117 male infants die every year in the United States as a result of circumcision.
#5 Infant rice cereal
Infant rice cereals may contain arsenic. Research suggests that infants who were fed rice cereals have 3X higher arsenic levels in their body than those who were not. These cereals are artificial and the baby cannot easily digest them. Some parents seem to have the wrong impression that feeding rice cereals help infants sleep longer.
Babies at six months old don’t have the right amount of an enzyme to break down rice products. So, feeding them grains actually harms their immune system and intestinal tract.
#4 Solid foods before turning six months
A baby’s gut is open until approximately six to nine months. So, it’s not at all advisable to feed solids to the baby before they turn six months. Eating solids too early may result in gut injury as it’s possible for bacteria to grow in the intestine. This, in turn, can lead to various infections, behavioral and learning disorders, autoimmune problems, and developmental delays.
#3 Fever medication after vaccination
Don’t treat a fever with medication after getting a baby vaccinated. Vaccines contain adjuvants that modify the immune response by boosting it to give a higher amount of antibodies and make a longer lasting effect. Medications suppress the function of a naturally occurring antioxidant in the baby’s body that can take care of the effects of the adjuvants.
#2 For crying out loud
Parents have been historically advised to let a crying child cry it out and not to interfere. However, studies have shown that leaving a child to cry it out can have a negative neurological impact. These kids are thought to be more independent, as they are left to their own devices, but the opposite is actually true. If they are taken care of at the time when they are crying, they grow up to be independent adults.
#1 Using Q-tips to clean the ears
Parents should neither clean their own or their baby’s ears with a Q-tip. Ears have their own way of cleaning itself and the wax inside the ears prevents infections. By using a wet washcloth, parents may clean only the external part of the baby’s ear—what is visible. The wax helps in lubrication and cleaning it to remove it may actually take away this protective layer, making the baby scratch its ears more often. If the baby is seen rubbing its ears, it may signal an infection or teething. Ear candling is a process that parents may choose when their child reaches a suitable age.
Vote for the most important baby safety tip that is not at all safe in the Comments section below. Also, if you’re thinking of getting your little girl’s ears pierced, have a read before you head out.