Rhonda Patt

Ask the pediatrician: Taking a newborn out of the house

Getting outside for fresh air and going on walks is encouraged, but be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather.
Getting outside for fresh air and going on walks is encouraged, but be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q. We just had our first baby. When is okay to take her outside on walks or to the store?

A. First, it is important to know that there is no right answer to this question. Clearly, it is a matter of finding a balance between getting back into your normal routine while trying to limit your baby’s exposure to infection.

A newborn baby’s immune system is not as strong as an older child’s. For this reason, infants are prone to developing serious infections when exposed to illness. More specifically, the same viruses that cause cold symptoms in older children or adults could lead to serious breathing problems for infants. Also, when newborn babies develop fever, they will likely require hospitalization for close observation and management.

That said, there are some basic guidelines that may be useful for limiting exposure to germs while you are out:

  • Large crowds in small spaces should be avoided.
  • When you take your baby out, make sure that you wash your hands before holding her and that others do the same.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.

Getting outside for fresh air and going on walks is encouraged, but be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather.

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