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When Can My Newborn Go Outside?

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Question: When Can My Newborn Go Outside?
A reader asks:

My baby is a week old, but I have older children who are dying to get out of the house. Is it safe to take my baby outdoors yet?

Answer:

Yes and no. While it's fine to go out in the yard or to a quiet park, you'll want to try your best to avoid places where there are crowds. New babies are irresistible and everyone will likely want to get an up-close and personal look at your new little bundle. Unfortunately, another thing that is irresistible (to your baby, at least) are all the illnesses that come from nearby coughs, sneezes and unclean hands. So, keep that in mind before you head to the mall or the local swimming pool.

Aside from that, if you're heading out and about, be sure to follow these guidelines for dressing your baby appropriately:

Dress for the Weather

Dress your baby in clothes appropriate for the weather -- don't dress him too hot or too cold. Use your own clothing as a guide. If you're wearing a coat, your baby should, too. Ditto gloves and socks.

Protect Your Baby from the Sun

Put your baby in a hat and other gear that will provide sun protection. It's best not to use sunscreen on young babies. If you absolutely must, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only using on small areas like the face or backs of hands. The best sun protection for small babies is shade and clothing. If you do use sunscreen, make sure to test a small area of your baby's skin for an allergic reaction.

Watch out for Wind

If it's windy, protect your baby's hands and face which can become easily chapped and painful.

Don't stay in the house and go stir crazy, especially if you've got older children. Take your baby out for a walk or to the park, get some fresh air and enjoy yourselves.

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