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Baby gear

  • Plan on using about 70 diapers a week for your baby.
  • Get a car seat and make sure you can install it correctly.
  • Be sure any pre-owned items are clean and safe to use.
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Infant clothing

Newborns do not need a lot of clothing. Used clothing is fine as long as buttons and snaps are on tight and none of the thread is unraveling. We suggest the following items:

  • 4 sleeping outfits or one-piece sleepers with attached feet
  • 6 side-snap T-shirts
  • 4 to 6 one-piece undershirts that snap at the crotch
  • 1 baby cap (the hospital may send one home with your baby)
  • 6 pairs of soft, snug socks or booties with elastic
  • 2 to 3 soft, comfortable outfits for daytime
  • 1 soft cotton sweater or light jacket
  • A hat with a brim and an elastic chin strap for summer
  • A warm knit hat with an elastic chin strap for winter
  • A snowsuit for cold winters

Shopping tips

 

  • Look for fabrics and seams that are soft and sturdy. Do not use clothes with scratchy appliqués, metal zippers, drawstrings, or tight or scratchy elastic bands.
  • Make sure sleepwear is made of flame-resistant fabric or that it fits snugly. Loose-fitting sleepwear that is not flame-resistant is a fire hazard.
  • Look for clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Try tops that open in the front or snap on the sides. Choose pants that have loose elastic waists and legs that snap open or open and close with Velcro.

Safety tips

 

  • Check that buttons, hooks, snaps, bows, pompons and sequins cannot come off easily. Check that snaps are not rough or uneven.
  • Turn socks or booties inside out and remove any loose threads that your baby could catch her toes in.
  • Avoid loosely knitted sweaters, booties, hats, and other clothing. Your baby’s fingers or toes could get caught in the thread.
  • Use sleepers and sleep-sacks instead of blankets when your baby sleeps. Babies can suffocate in blankets.

For more information, visit Babies & Kids on the Consumers Report Web site.

June 2008

Copyright 2008, Consumers Union of United States, Inc. All rights reserved. No redistribution allowed.

Baby gear

  • Put a car seat in your car.
  • Keep toys out of the crib.
  • Plan on using 70 diapers a week.
  • Get baby clothes and bedding.
  • Keep medical supplies on hand.

Most common questions

What is the safest crib for my baby?

A full-size crib is best for your baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing safety standards on cribs and urging parents to avoid drop-side cribs (cribs with sides that move up and down). Many of these kinds of cribs have been recalled. It's best to have a crib with sides that don't move. Other things to keep in mind:

  • Crib mattresses should be firm and tight-fitting. Otherwise, a baby may get trapped in the space between the mattress and the crib.
  • You shouldn't be able to put more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame.
  • Sheets should fit snugly.
  • Don’t use bumper guards on cribs because they pose a suffocation risk. Newborns and small infants aren't able to pull themselves free if they become stuck between the bumper pad and the side of the crib.
  • If you have a used crib, check the CPCS website to see if it's been recalled.
  • Make sure corner posts are less than 1/16 inch. Otherwise, clothing could get caught and your baby might strangle.
  • There shouldn't be more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through.

What kind of car seat is safest for my baby?

If possible, buy a new car seat. That way, you're sure that it's never been in a car crash. If you're using a used car seat, be certain it is not more than 6 years old, has never been in a crash and hasn't been recalled (check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls).

Look for a model with a five-point harness (two shoulder straps, two leg straps and one crotch strap). It's the safest for baby. You can choose an infant-only seat, which is always used rear-facing. You can also choose a convertible seat. These start out rear-facing but can change to a front-facing seat when your baby gets bigger. Other tips:

  • Recline a rear-facing car safety seat at about 45 degrees or as directed by the instructions that came with the seat.
  • Get a free inspection to make sure the seat is installed right.
  • If you have a baby who is premature or has a low birthweight, look for a car safety seat with the shortest distance between the crotch strap and the seat back. Ideally, pick one with a crotch-to-seat back distance of 5 1/2 inches.
  • Pay close attention to the lower weight limit of the car seat. The typical car seat is only suited for newborns that weigh more than 5 pounds. Look for infant seats that can accommodate a baby who weighs 4 pounds or less. Some manufactures sell inserts to attach to a regular infant car seat for preemies or low-birthweight babies.

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