Probably one of the most popular of questions from new parents focuses on when they can take their baby out of the house. And while formal guidelines don’t actually exist, I do have some general rules I share with parents to help better guide them. But bottom line, there actually isn’t actually a magical age of when its “safe” to take your baby out. For me and the patients and families I care for, if they can avoid “germs,” they can go out as soon as they want. But let me explain this thought and a few others in greater detail so things are a bit clearer.
- I often will first say fresh air is good for everyone… the newborn, mom and even dad. So a walk around the block or up-and-down the street or even just sitting outside on the porch is fine as soon as everyone is home from the hospital. But just remember to keep your newborn covered up from any direct sunlight when outside.
- Remember to avoid the crowds. If mom and dad are hungry after a walk and looking for a meal, I’m fine with dining out so long as they pick wisely where they sit within the restaurant. Not by the front door or where there might be a lot of foot traffic; but rather outside on the patio, or anywhere where a little fresh air and minimal foot traffic occurs.
- To follow the point made above, it’s the upper respiratory infection (URI aka “cold”) I’m most worried about as no vaccines/immunizations exist for that. Yes, there are some maternal antibodies (which help fight infection) circulating in the baby’s bloodstream for the first few months of life, but there’s no guarantee they will protect him/her from every “cold” out there. And all it takes is a little sneeze or even just touching the newborn’s face or hands and the spread of an illness can easily follow.
- So why do my friends say “2 months of age before going out and about?” Is it because the vaccines are given typically at that visit? Well, yes and no. Yes, the vaccines are given typically near 2 months of age and they obviously protect against some very terrifying illnesses and diseases: whooping cough, different types of meningitis, and polio as well. But the fact of the matter is these illnesses are not as common as the typical summer cold, which as mentioned above, no vaccine exists for that.
- My reason for feeling more comfortable with the 2 month age rule is: if a fever exists before the age of 2 months, it often will lead to a full work up where blood, urine, and even CSF cultures are obtained and a hospital admission will follow, which is pretty serious. After 2 months of age, a fever won’t necessarily result in a full work up like it would if the baby were younger.
So there you have it. In summary, for new parents, certainly is ok to get out at an early age…but be very, very careful and avoid the crowds.
- Dr. Jeremy
RELATED FROM AROUND THE WEB