With one writer having just had a baby a few months ago and another with a baby on the way, I felt I should remind people of Baby Etiquette and was happy to get the chance to do so with many other Bloggers on the MedImmune RSV/Baby Etiquette Campaign. Some of these ideas seem pretty simple, but for many people they are life depending. I never realized this until Angie and I had met up again after 15 years, her current youngest has disabilities that make it extremely important to never be around him when you are ill, to wash your hands and make sure to sanitize. I remember he was in the hospital for weeks when I first got to meet him and every time I went I had to wash my hands and sanitize them before saying Hello. After this I had simply gotten used to it, but for a lot of us we don’t think about the risks or how important it is to new parents. So here are some helpful guidelines from MedImmune:
A few tips to remember when a loved one has a new baby:
- Call before you visit. New parents need time to set up a routine and bond. By giving them time to do so before you visit, you are respecting the new family.
- Postpone a visit if you feel that you may be getting sick, have recently been ill or exposed to illness.
- Remember that parents know best. If you feel they are being overprotective or overly cautious, just consider that only they know what’s best for the health of their new son or daughter.
- Offer to do something to ease their responsibilities as they spend time as a family, such as laundry, cooking or dishes. Sleep-deprived moms and dads will appreciate your help!
If you do schedule a visit with a new baby:
- Wash your hands frequently—upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby. Parents, and the new baby, will appreciate it.
- Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.
A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
- Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
- Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (e.g., wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
- Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
- Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
- To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com.
For many of us Bloggers, we cannot help but think of Elias, the child of a blogger that had recently passed from RSV. Newly Crunchy Mama of 3 explains the story very well and she’s also a member of this Campaign. After hearing this story, being a Mom of a 3 year old myself and knowing that my niece had once had RSV, it pains me. It’s so important for our loved ones and friends as new parents to know that we also care about their newborns and their young ones. Take into consideration the list, even if some of the things you may not think matter – they do! To Moms like my friend and Co-Admin here, Angie with a baby on the way and a disabled son and to new Moms like our friend and writer Cassie.
For those of you that aren’t sure how to explain to your loved ones about Baby Etiquette, here is an Open Letter, shared from MedImmune and Mom Central that you are welcome to copy and share:
Dear [Loved One],
I know sometimes people think I go to extreme lengths to protect [Baby], and I understand my methods may seem strange. I wanted to send this note to you to give you insight on what life is like when you’re perceived as an “overprotective” parent.
[Baby] was born [prematurely or with X condition], which puts [him/her] at an increased risk of developing a serious infection from many common, seemingly harmless, germs and viruses. For example, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an extremely common virus that all babies contract by their second birthday. Most infants have the immune system and lung strength to fight off the virus, but in high-risk babies, it can cause a very serious infection. In fact, serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization. Note: For more information on the dangers of RSV, you can check out www.RSVprotection.com.
Because [Baby] is so vulnerable to RSV and other illnesses, it’s important to us to avoid exposing [him/her] to these germs. Viruses like RSV are highly contagious and can live for hours on objects like countertops, doorknobs and toys. Frankly, the idea that visitors may unknowingly bring in these dangerous germs is very scary to a new parent!
So I’m asking that you please be patient with me and my precautions to keep [Baby] safe. Please contact me before dropping by for a visit, and know that while I hate turning you away or asking you not to come over, it’s always for a good reason and never personal.
And when we’re eventually ready for visitors, please remember that prevention is key to keeping [Baby] safe.
- Please refrain from visiting when you are sick or if you’ve been around someone ill.
- Please make sure your clothes are clean and you haven’t smoked or been around smokers recently. Smoke can be very dangerous for underdeveloped lungs.
- Let’s wait until [Baby] is strong enough to be introduced to your little one(s), You know I love seeing [him/her], but toddlers and school-aged children are very likely carriers of germs and viruses.
- Wash your hands immediately when you come into the house, or sanitize during your visit – this is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Wash, wash, wash!
I hope this helps to explain a bit better why I’ve been keeping [Baby] in and, often, visitors out. I appreciate your understanding and look forward to seeing [Baby] grow stronger and healthier everyday with your help!
I hope this helps in many, many ways, to keep your little ones safe as well as for you to know how Baby Etiquette with your friends and family. Be considerate, know the risks involved and always – always – wash your hands.