safe motherhood


Safety issues

At six months your baby will be starting to get mobile and steps need to be taken to avoid accidents. Falls are common at this age - and preventable.


Thousands of babies are hurt every year when their baby-walker trips down stairs or tips up outside in the garden. It's also believed that a baby in a walker is not developing their muscles correctly: the baby sits in an odd position between sitting and standing and the legs hang limply. Another view is that babies who are left in baby-walkers for long periods miss out on crawling, something which helps them develop muscles in their arms, legs and back. So if you do have a baby-walker, use it sparingly and keep it clear of the stairs.


Stairgates need to go at the top and bottom of stairs before your baby starts crawling. They are also useful when fitted across the kitchen doorway to keep a toddler out. Watch out for older children who might leave the stairgate undone.


With highchairs, always fit a safety harness, as well as the straps already attached to the chair.


Lower the bars of the cot when your baby starts trying to climb out. This will stop them falling out and banging their head.

Big bed

There's an argument for putting the mattress from your bed on the floor so that a crawling baby won't crawl to the edge of the bed and fall off.


Babies at this age also have the habit of putting everything into their mouths. Make sure that they can't get hold of anything small to play with and watch out for choking.


Although eczema can be caused by an allergy, it often occurs for no known reason. Eczema is an inflammation of the skin, usually accompanied by itching, scaling or blisters.

It often occurs in babies between two and 18 months, usually on the face, the inner creases of the elbows and behind the knees. There are often small pimples that ooze when scratched.

The condition often clears as the child grows older, although it may come and go for several years. Emollients, such as petroleum jelly, E45 cream or Boots Aqueous Cream BP, will help keep the infected area soft.

You should also avoid all obvious irritants when in contact with eczema. Cut out baby lotion, soap, talc or any scented products, and don't put man-made fibres next to your baby's skin. Wash clothes in non-biological washing powders and rinse thoroughly, using no fabric softeners.

In cases of eczema where moisturisers have failed to keep the skin clear, doctors often prescribe steroid creams. This is a condition that can respond well to homeopathic remedies, which in many areas of the UK is available free on the NHS.


Children can develop allergies to just about anything. Symptoms can include a rash, itch, swelling, breathing difficulties, sneezing or watery eyes. Minor reactions may need no treatment other than to stop using the allergen, for example, washing powder.

New advice has been published on the subject of nut allergy. We are still uncertain as to why so many people are becoming allergic to nuts, but there may be a possibility of sensitisation during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Therefore women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and who have a family history of allergy are advised to abstain from eating nuts.

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