During your third trimester it’s time to get ready for your baby’s arrival. If you haven’t started already, there’s lots of gear you’ll need to keep your infant safe and happy.
Although your baby will require a lot, that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There’s no need to buy all new items. Other than a car seat, lightly used items from friends, family and your community are fine.
All baby gear should meet the latest safety standards and guidelines. Make sure nothing has been recalled for safety reasons. Never accept a used car seat — expired seats or those that have been in car crashes aren’t safe any longer.
For many people, gates are an essential part of babyproofing a home. Don’t use an accordion-style gate with V-shaped openings that can trap your baby’s head. Gate should have vertical slats no wider than 2 and 3/8 inches apart.
National laws require the safe installation of an approved car seat before you leave the hospital with your newborn. Kids who aren’t secured in a car seat may be seriously injured or killed if you’re involved in a crash. This can happen even at low speeds or if you make an abrupt stop.
The car seat should be in place well before your due date. Make sure to read and follow all instructions. The seat should face the rear of your vehicle. Secure it in the middle of the back seat of your car. The seat will have a harness that you’ll use to secure your baby.
Some people prefer a 3-in-1 convertible car seat because they usually have higher weight and height requirements. That means your baby will be able to use it longer.
Your local police or fire department will inspect your car seat for free if you’re unsure whether it’s installed properly. You can find a station near you by calling 1-866-SEAT-CHECK or visiting safercar.gov.
Unfortunately, many children get injured every year by falling off changing tables. Yours should have safety straps to keep your baby secure. It’s a good idea to keep one hand on your baby the entire time they’re on the table.
The table should have a railing that’s at least 2 inches high the entire way around the table. Many come with slightly indented changing pads, which can help prevent your baby from rolling off. Keep diapers and other changing items within easy reach.
If you don’t have a changing table, you can also safely change your baby on the floor. Just be sure to put a towel down first.
A high-quality crib keeps your baby safe and ensures they get a good night’s rest. Crib standards are frequently updated, so check the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure the crib you purchase hasn’t been recalled.
The top of the crib’s rail should be at least 26 inches higher than the top of the mattress. The mattress itself should be firm, flat, and fit snuggly within the crib. Crib slats shouldn’t be more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart. Be sure the corner posts don’t extend above the sides of the crib and that the side doesn’t drop down.
When you place your baby in the crib, always put them on their back. Don’t have any plastic bags, toys, laundry bags, curtain cords, or other objects with strings in the crib.
The pacifier you choose must be strong enough not to break when your baby uses it – this prevents choking. Also, the guard, or shield, should have holes to allow for breathing. The guard should be large enough that it prevents the pacifier from falling into your baby’s mouth.
Toys are essential for your baby’s development, but they should be safe. You shouldn’t place toys or stuffed animals in your baby’s crib when they’re sleeping. Also, it’s important to not give your baby a toy with very small parts. Anything less than the width of a paper towel roll is too small.