Take good care of your baby

Home safety

Your baby gets more active and curious as he grows. You have to keep your home a safe environment for your baby to explore and play around freely and safely. Is your home safe enough for your baby?

  1. Ensuring the safety of your baby

    • Do not leave your child alone at home or to the care by elder children
    • Have a first-aid kit at home
    • You should equip with first-aid knowledge
  2. Safety in the Living Room

    • Cover the sharp edges on furniture with corner protectors
    • Lock up the foldable furniture or put it away in a secured place
    • Avoid arranging your furniture in staggered way such that children can climb up high
    • Install and lock up the window guards
    • Use protective covers for the sockets on the wall
    • Fix the position of opened doors with door stoppers or magnets
    • Fasten the seatbelt and secure the locks on high chairs and baby cart when baby is placed there
    • Ensure that the curtain ropes are out of the reach of your child
    • Do not use glass table tops or glass doors at home
    • Store matches and lighters away securely
  3. Safety in the kitchen

    • Install a gate at the kitchen door
    • Turn the handles of cooking utensils inward on the stove
    • Do not carry your baby in the kitchen
    • Store all sharp utensils at where children can’t reach
    • Store medicine at where children can’t reach
    • Never put detergents and other chemicals in drink bottles
    • Store or lock up detergents in cupboards where children can’t reach
    • Store electric kettle or hot water flask out of the reach of children
  4. Safety in the bathroom

    • Put an anti-slip pad in the bathtub
    • Always keep your bathroom dry
    • Always keep the bathroom door close
    • Use a plastic basin for a baby bath
    • Never leave your baby in the bath alone (even just for a moment)
    • When preparing bath for your baby,put cold water before hot water,and test the water temperature with your elbow
    • Never leave utensils filled with water around
  5. Safety in the bedroom

    • Lock up the fence of the baby cot when leaving your baby there
    • The distance between the fence bars of the baby should be less than 6cm (2.5”)
    • The size of the mattress should fit the size of the baby cot
    • The height of the cot fences should be more than 3/4 of your baby’s height
    • Never leave your baby alone on sofa or bed without fences (even just for a moment)
    • Do not let ropes hanging near the baby bed
    • There should be ladder on the bunk bed and the ladder should be secured
    • There should not be any gap between the bunk bed and the wall

All you need in your first-aid kit

Home accidents do happen. Babies are vulnerable and are dependent in protecting themselves. Therefore, parents need to exercise home safety precautions as well as knowing how to handle accidental injuries at home. Having a first-aid kit at home is essential to treat minor injuries. Parents should also equip yourselves with first-aid skills to protect your vulnerable baby in emergency. If the condition gets serious, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

A standard first-aid kit should contain:

  • Sterilized cotton
  • Sterilized gauze
  • Dressing Pad
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Elastic bandage (2″/5cm wide and 3″/7.5cm wide each)
  • 70% alcohol
  • Mild disinfectant
  • Safety pins
  • Round-ended scissors
  • Triangular bandage
  • Disposable gloves

Baby’s diet

From 6 months to 2 years old is a transitional stage for babies to learn eating solid food. Your baby is now turning into a new stage to try a variety of solid food. Breastmilk or infant formula remains to be the major diet for babies at this stage and the milk intake will not be reduced at the start of the transition. As long as your baby is given chance to try a variety of food and has balanced nutrition, you may adjust the amount and proportion according to your baby’s need and acceptance gradually.

Baby trying a variety of food

Should I change the infant formula for my baby?

There is no scientific evidence to support that babies of 6 months old need to change to ‘follow-on’ high protein formula. Babies can continue to obtain adequate protein and other nutrients from breastmilk / infant formula and a balanced varieties of solid foods from their daily diet.

What should babies eat? How much can they eat?

Check out the principles in preparing food for your baby. There are recipes too!

How to prepare vegetables?

Vegetables

Vegetables are good for our health because it is rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, they also contain a common chemical called nitrate. If vegetables are not stored properly, while they are being chopped, mashed and contaminated by bacteria, nitrate will rapidly transform into nitrite which can lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in baby’s blood and thus increase baby’s risk of having a condition called methaemoglobinaemia.

According to the study by The Centre for Food Safety, leafy vegetables (including Chinese spinach, Shanghai cabbage, petiole Chinese cabbage, spinach and beetroot) have higher nitrate concentration. Nevertheless, the nitrate and nitrite concentrations in these vegetables can be reduced to the safety levels if they are properly handled.

To ensure that babies eat vegetables in a healthy way, do pay attention to the following points in preparing vegetables for babies:

  • Provide vegetables of different types and colours in your baby’s weekly recipe including leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach), brassica vegetables (e.g. broccoli), root and tubers (e.g. carrot and potato), melons, legumes, fruiting vegetables (e.g. tomato and bell pepper) and bulbs (e.g. onion).
  • Always pick fresh vegetables for your baby.
  • Keep vegetables fresh by storing them in the refrigerator.
  • Clean and peel vegetables only before cooking them.
  • Rinse vegetables with water and soak them for 1 hour to remove pesticides on the vegetables.
  • Cook them soon after chopping and mashing the vegetables.
  • Blanch vegetables in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes. Drain away the cooking water before serving. Vegetable purees or congee with vegetables should be given to babies soon after they are cooked. Otherwise they should be cooled down soon and stored in freezer with temperature of -18°C /-0.4°F within 2 hours after they are cooked.
    Baby trying a variety of food
  • Storing vegetable purees or vegetable congee in a thermal pot is not recommended.
  • Vegetable purees or vegetable congee not kept in a freezer should not be served to babies more than 12 hours after cooking.
  • Any left- over food should be boiled thoroughly for 1 minute before serving.
  • Babies with digestive problems should not take vegetables or vegetable soup until they are recovered.

Teething

Babies start teething when they reach 6 months old. If you find a tiny white tooth coming out from your baby’s gum, it is time for you to pay attention to your baby’s dental care.

Cleaning your baby’s mouth – English

Heading: Cleaning your baby’s mouth

Sub-Heading: Special session: (2)Cleaning your baby’s mouth

Doctor Felix Yu, Oral Health Education Unit, Department of Health: To ensure your baby has healthy teeth, you should help get him into a habit of cleaning his mouth every day. After the first tooth appears, you can brush it with a baby toothbrush and some drinking water. To clean your baby’s mouth, follow these three steps:

Sub-heading: Smart tips

Scene: The baby is lying on the couch. His mother cleans his mouth with a wet guage.

Doctor Felix Yu: First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Next, wet a piece of gauze, or cotton with drinking water. Wrap it around your finger. Gently rub your baby’s upper gum and then lower gum in a circular motion. If your baby has teeth, remember to clean them too. Also, to protect your baby’s teeth, do not allow your baby to drink milk while he is sleeping. Change to cups and stop giving him feeding bottles for milk when he reaches 14 months old.

 

Can baby skip vaccination?

Although your baby may have some discomfort when taking vaccination, it can protect your baby’s health. As young babies are vulnerable to infections, to protect your baby against diseases and strengthen his immunity, you should bring him at allotted time to receive the appropriate vaccines and boosters. Immunisation can be given by injection or by mouth. When the vaccines are injected into the body, antibodies will be produced to give immunity against diseases.

Immunisation card

You can bring your newborn to 5 year old child to the Maternal and Child Health Centres of Department of Health(DH), private hospitals or clinics for immunisation. The School Immunisation team of DH will visit primary schools to provide injection to students. You can also bring your child to private doctors for vaccination.

Vaccinations provided in Maternal and Child Health Centres (DH) for 6 months olds

Besides those vaccines recommended by the Department of Health for inclusion in the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme, some private doctors and hospitals may provide other vaccines to protect children from certain infectious diseases. Parents should seek advice from their family doctor before getting their children immunised.