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Moms learn home safety for their babies, at home

Each year, staff of the Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice make more than 160 home visits to new mothers and their babies. Besides checking up on the health of both, a key goal of these visits is safety teaching. Safety teaching covers two main areas. One is general newborn care, “including safety practices like never leaving the baby unattended on a changing table to go answer the phone,” said Hallmark Health VNA Maternal and Child Health Coordinator Michelle Bradford, RN, BSN. The other is education on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleep. “This is particularly important because of cultural and generational differences,” she added. “A generation ago moms were taught to put babies down on their stomachs. We now know that’s not safe but many grandparents, for example, might think that’s still the thing to do.” In addition to in-home education, staff distribute brochures about safe sleep (available in English and Spanish) to help spread the word among family members plus any other caregivers for the newborn.

Part of the post-partum home visiting program involves a safety check of the home – everything from crib slats and bedding to the presence of lead paint to the appropriate installation of a car seat. “If we see problems, we notify the pediatrician of our findings and also can refer the family to other resources as needed – for lead paint abatement, for example,” she added.

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