Monitoring Baby’s Hearing and Vision

Unlike older children and adults, infants cannot tell you if they have problems with their hearing and vision. They also wouldn’t normally feel uncomfortable because they wouldn’t be able to distinguish auditory and visual problems from normal hearing and sight.

As parents, you need to be aware of signs that will tell you your child probably has hearing and/or visual problems.

Baby’s Hearing Development
Doctors usually check baby’s hearing after childbirth or within his/her first month. Normally, babies would be able to react to noises when they are a month old. Studies also show that children will react to their parents’ voices at 3 months old, and by 6 months, they can determine the source of the sound by turning their heads toward the source. Most babies will also be able to imitate sounds at 12 months and produce a few simple words.

Warning Signs of Hearing Problems
If your baby has failed the screening, it doesn’t mean that he/she has gone deaf, but the doctors will not be able to provide any treatment until the child is 6 months old. Repeat test will confirm the results and will give the doctors an idea how to save baby’s hearing. Even if the results of the hearing examinations are positive, you should still look out for the following signs: baby doesn’t react to sudden noises at 3 months; doesn’t respond to music and voices; doesn’t imitate sounds at 6 months or feel at ease when there’s a familiar voice; baby doesn’t turn to the source of the sound; and there is no variety in pitch when baby babbles.

Baby’s Sight Development
Your baby’s eyes are among the last organs to fully develop before childbirth, and during his/her first few months outside the womb, the eyes will continuously adjust as he/he grows up. For example, it’s perfectly normal for a baby to look cross-eyed sometimes during his/her first three months and their sight is normally blurry or out of focus, but they should be able to distinguish different colors. After about a week old, the baby should be able to focus on objects not farther than 12 inches from his/her face. By the time he/she is six months old, the baby will be able to see clearly at any distance and will react to objects and facial expressions.

Warning Signs of Visual Problems
A child’s vision will not fully mature until he/she is about 3 years old, but you should consult your pediatrician if you notice any of the following signs: baby’s eyes don’t move or only one eye moves; objects and other visual stimulus don’t elicit reactions from an infant at one month or older; one of the eyes has not opened or one of the eyelids droop; you notice red spots on the eyes when taking photos of the child; one or both of the eyes are bulging; the infant’s eyes look cloudy; eyes are sensitive to light or the baby often squints; the pupils are of different sizes; and the baby often rubs his/her eyes.

How to Groom Your Baby’s Nails Properly

Baby’s nails grow fast, that is why it’s important to learn how to groom your baby’s nails properly to prevent scratches and other injuries. Here are pointers to help you practice.

• Buy baby-safe grooming tools. You can’t use your regular nail clipper and emery board on your baby because their nails are soft and flexible. Instead, invest in baby nail clippers, safety scissors or an emery board. Clippers are easy to use although you should be careful about pinching the skin accidentally. Nail scissors will take time to get used to, but they are safe if they have blunt edges.

• No need to trim in the first few weeks. If you have been advised by the doctor not to trim baby’s nails, you can put on mittens and socks to prevent the infant from scratching him/herself. Long-sleeved onesies can also be useful of they have fold-over cuffs.

• Trim the nails twice a week. Baby’s nails grow faster than an adult’s and are also sharp and ragged, so you will probably have to practice trimming them twice a week, especially the fingernails. The toenails grow a bit slower, so they will only need trimming at least twice a month.

• Groom your baby when he/she is relaxed. You could easily injure your baby if he/she is moving around a lot while grooming, so pick the best time to trim the nails. You can ask another person to distract the baby or you can trim the nails while baby is sleeping or feeding. You can also trim baby’s nails right after bath because the nails will be a lot softer.

• Don’t trim the nails too short. You should know by now that to avoid ingrown nails in the future, you should try not to trim too close to the skin. Clip straight across then smooth the edges with an emery board. If you cut the skin accidentally, rinse with running water and apply pressure on the area with a clean, damp cotton. Avoid placing bandages because the wound will heal fast.

• File baby’s nails. You can also use a baby emery board instead of a nail clipper or scissors. In fact, your doctor might recommend an emery board for the first few weeks instead of the scissors or clippers to avoid accidents. It’s safer for baby’s skin, but it will take more time. Avoid using a metal nail file because that can injure your baby’s skin. There are electric files that are safe for baby if you want to cut the time it takes to file the nails, but they are more expensive than the emery board.

• Don’t bite baby’s nails. Just because the nails are soft, doesn’t mean you can clip it with your teeth. Not only will it leave ragged edges, but the habit might also cause infection and injury.

How to Rescue an Infant from Choking

 

It is vital that you learn basic first-aid so when things happen, you are prepared thereby increasing your chances of survival. You do not learn first-aid for yourself only but people around you can benefit from it. So, when you hear first aid training courses here in Singapore, you have to enrol right away. Make sure that you learn the Heimlich Maneuver as well as CPR from certified first-aid responders because you can use it in case of severe choking.

What if in this case you encounter a choking infant? Choking may sound harmless but it is the other way around especially if it happens to infants younger than one year old. Choking is actually a serious one because it happens when foreign object is lodged in the windpipe or throat. This will make breathing hard (because of the blockage). You already know what happens when the oxygen is cut off to the brain. You do not want this to happen to the infant.

When you see an infant choking, it is crucial that you perform first-aid without delay. Your goal would be to clear the airway of the infant right away for breathing to resume. Here’s a refresher:

Be seated

You have to be seated while holding the infant. Make sure he/she is facing down on your forearm and resting on the thighs.

Back blows

Infants are very fragile and sometimes it is scary just to hold them. This is not the time to be scared because his/her life depends on you. After ensuring the proper position, you can begin to thump the middle back of the infant – gently. Thumping should only be done using your hand’s heel. Gravity plus back blows are enough to dislodge the foreign object.

Chest thrusts

If back blows do not work, you have to try chest thrusts. Hold the infant facing up on your forearm. Using your two fingers, locate the center of his/her breastbone and then do chest compressions at least five times.

Combine

If back blows and chest thrusts do not work, combine the two and repeat it until breathing resumes.

If the infant is older than one year old, you can only perform abdominal thrusts. Do not overdo it because infants body are fragile and you do not want to break any bone or cause any pain/discomfort. While you try to perform first-aid, call other people around and tell them to call for ambulance. Here in Singapore, responders here are quick as long as you place the call.