Category Archives: Baby Your Baby

How hospital caregivers help your baby transition to life outside the womb

As you prepare for childbirth, there’s such a focus on labor and delivery and getting your baby here. It’s so important that delivery happens safely. But many moms may wonder about what happens at the hospital after birth.

Jade Elliott spoke with Taylor Hanton, a neonatal nurse practitioner with Intermountain Healthcare,  about the special newborn care and bonding and the important screenings for your baby that are offered at the hospital after birth .

The first hour after a baby is born is a very special time that neonatal providers like to call the golden hour as your baby transitions from living in the womb to living in the world and begin bonding with mom and her partner.

Why is the first hour of a baby’s life called the golden hour?

It’s a time for mom and baby to bond and ensure baby is adapting well to their new environment as well as making sure mom recovers from the delivery of her baby.

What happens right after birth?

The labor and delivery nurse is frequently in the room during the first couple of hours checking on mom and making sure she remains stable after delivery. The nurse will also assist mom with breast or bottle feeding and monitor vital signs on both mom and baby.


Right after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery or even caesarean birth, the baby is placed on mom’s chest, to encourage skin-to-skin contact, bonding, keep baby warm, and help regulate newborn breathing. This can happen even before the umbilical cord is cut. If you have a Caesarean section, skin-to-skin is delayed due to the location of the surgery, but often can occur prior to mom leaving the OR.

Apgar scores help measure your baby’s general condition and how well your baby is adapting to the new world outside the womb and if assistance is needed. They can be done with your baby still on your chest. Apgar assess your baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. Apgar scores are assigned at one minute after birth and again at five minutes.

Most newborns have an Apgar score greater than 7. Few babies score a perfect 10, since babies are born blue and it take some time for their entire bodies to turn pink.

Approximately 5-10 percent of newborns will require some degree of resuscitation. This may include assistance with removal of oral secretions, drying and/or tactile stimulation to increase the baby’s heart rate, and to facilitate effective breathing and consequently oxygen delivery to the body.

Only about one percent of newborns require extensive resuscitation at birth. If you are delivering in a hospital, the staff is skilled and prepared to perform all resuscitation interventions on your baby if needed. Neonatal caregivers can help baby breathe with an oxygen mask or a tube placed in the windpipe, and fluids and medications may be administered through a blood vessel in the umbilical cord. If Apgar scores are still low, your baby may be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for further care.

What’s the difference between a well-baby nursery and a NICU?

Well baby nurseries are typically for babies 35 weeks and above, however some rural nurseries only care for newborns 37 weeks and above. Newborn intensive care units are for babies that require extra monitoring and care, including all babies born less than 35 weeks gestation. It’s important to know the level of care available at your delivery hospital and if you will need to go somewhere else if you go into early labor. This will help you and your newborn receive care at the same hospital and not be separated.

What advice do you have for parents during that golden hour?

It’s a time to make sure the baby is adapting to life apart from the protection of the womb. The newborn caregivers make sure the baby is breathing comfortably and does not need any assistance or additional oxygen as well as make sure the baby can maintain a normal temperature.

It’s not the best time for a lot of visitors to be in the room. Babies need a low stimulation environment as they continue to clear fluids from the lungs and use their calories to work on feeding and maintaining a normal body temperature. Newborn transition is often interrupted in babies who are overstimulated (for example being held by multiple people, loud voices, or being unwrapped). These babies often become worn out and are not able to feed as well, become cold, and/or start to work harder to breathe.

The Golden Hour is a special time for mom and partner to have some time alone with the baby and to help the baby make a successful transition to his/her new world. This is also an important time for your baby to have a positive feeding experience and receive the appropriate nutrition to continue the transitioning process. In fact, newborn baths are even delayed to not interfere with this important process.

What newborn screenings are offered at the hospital to check baby’s health?

Many newborn screenings are required by state law. Here are some screenings routinely provided in Intermountain hospitals.

A screening for critical congenital heart defects or CCHD test helps identifies babies that are born with a heart defect that could put them at risk for delivering blood and/or oxygen to the body. The screen evaluates the amount of oxygen in your baby’s blood by sticking pulse oximeter sensors to your baby’s skin. If your baby does not pass the CCHD screen, an echocardiogram (an ultrasound to look at pictures of your baby’s heart) may be performed to further access the heart anatomy and function. Early detection and treatment for CCHD can be lifesaving.

Newborn screening is the first step towards a healthy start for your baby. Neonatal screening is a state requirement to help detect specific conditions in infants who would benefit from early detection and treatment. The Utah Newborn Screening Program checks for more than 40 disorders, such conditions include hormone abnormalities, inborn errors of metabolism, immunodeficiency disorders, red blood cell abnormalities, and cystic fibrosis. Early identification of disorders, provides an opportunity for treatment that can lead to significant reductions in morbidity and mortality. This is a simple blood test that requires just a few drops of blood collected from your baby’s foot. The first screening is obtained 24-48 hours after birth and the second is performed 7-16 days after birth.

Click here for the Baby Your Baby Podcast on newborn screenings.

A hearing screening checks for hearing loss. For this test, tiny earphones are placed in your baby’s ears and special computers check how your baby responds to sound. It is not unusual for a newborn to fail one or both ears since there is often fluid still in the ear canals. If this happens, a repeat test is scheduled shortly after discharge.

Bilirubin screening is done to check for high levels of bilirubin which can cause jaundice. Mild jaundice may go away on its own, but higher levels may need treatment with special lights. This blood test is usually done at 24 hours after birth, but is may be done sooner if your baby is at a higher risk for developing jaundice.

Administering vitamin K. Babies are born deficient in Vitamin K. Giving them this important vitamin helps prevent dangerous bleeding or intercranial hemorrhage. It is best given through a shot in the thigh within three hours of birth. Administration of oral Vitamin K is less effective than the shot due to erratic absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and must be given weekly until your baby is three months of age.

Administering erythromycin eye ointment. Erythromycin eye ointment is administered within three hours of birth to treat ophthalmia neonatorum. This is an infectious and potentially blinding conjunctivitis transmitted to a neonate by exposure to maternal chlamydial or gonococcal infection during birth. These infections can cause corneal scaring, ocular perforation, and blindness as soon as 24 hours after birth. This treatment is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC for prophylaxis against newborn conjunctivitis.

What about vaccines and follow-up care?

Hepatitis B vaccine is given to newborns at the hospital. It’s important to follow up and take your child to their well-child visits with their provider starting a few days after discharge. During these visits, the newborn provider will check the baby’s growth, ability to orally feed, evaluate for jaundice, and listen to heart and lung sounds. Additional well-child check-ups are important to assess continued growth and development and provide additional vaccines to prevent childhood diseases.

Do caregivers teach you about taking care of your newborn?

Women and newborn caregivers will teach you about how to care for your baby. They will show you how to care for the umbilical cord, and how to hold, bathe, diaper, swaddle, nurse or bottle feed, and burp your baby. They will also provide you with information on when to call your baby’s provider for other concerns such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers.

For a schedule of well visits go to

For more information about newborn screenings in Utah visit Outside of Utah, visit your state’s website or

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Swaddling: How to do it safely and when to stop

Newborn babies often sleep better when swaddled. But how babies are swaddled, and through what age, can make a difference in their long-term sleep patterns — and help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), said Rachelle Rigby, RN, pediatric medical and surgical services director at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Jade Elliott spoke with Rachelle Rigby, RN, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, about how to swaddle and when to stop.

“Newborn babies love to be snuggled up tight because that’s how they were developing inside mom, and they like that feeling,” Rigby said. “But parents should wean babies from swaddling around the third month, and make sure they’re swaddling correctly so their faces don’t end up covered by the blanket when the baby moves.”

Rigby recommends swaddling baby in one thin blanket, just below the neck area. Baby’s arms can be inside or outside the swaddling, largely depending on preference.

“If in every ultrasound the baby was seen with their arms up, leave their arms out of the swaddling blanket! They might like it better,” Rigby said.

To swaddle baby, place a thin blanket on a solid surface, and the baby on top. Fold one side over the baby, fold up the bottom, then fold the other side over the baby and tuck it in.

Be sure the blanket is below the neck to keep the blanket out of the face when the baby wiggles.

Using a thin blanket helps prevent overheating, which has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Rigby said. Placing a fan in the room can help prevent overheating as well, she said. Babies also should sleep on a firm crib mattress or bassinet in a separate sleeping area in their parent’s bedroom, and never in the same bed as the parent.

“At three months, it’s good to start using footed pajamas or a sleep sack instead of swaddling. While this may disturb the baby’s sleep temporarily, this is also an opportunity for the baby to learn to self-soothe, which is a critical part of their development,” Rigby said. “Self-soothing skills will pay off in the long run for the baby, and help parents get the sleep they desperately need.”

More information:

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

A no-frills crib can reduce the risk of SIDS

New parents often are worried about their baby’s safety and the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But they can reduce the risk of SIDS by what they choose for their baby’s sleep environment, said Rachelle Rigby, RN, pediatric medical and surgical services director at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Jade Elliott spoke with Rachelle Rigby, RN, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, about ensuring your baby is sleeping safely.

“New parents may be tempted to decorate their baby’s crib with stuffed animals, soft pillows and fluffy blankets and bumpers,” Rigby said. “But fluffy things in the crib can actually create a danger for infants.”

The cause of SIDS is unknown, but research indicates that there are contributing factors. Soft surfaces, such as a couch, fluffy blanket or pillow, can block an infant’s airway. Overheating also can increase a baby’s risk of SIDS.

“Parents should always place a baby on his or her back to sleep to help reduce the risk of SIDS,” Rigby said. “Tummy time should be reserved for play when a parent or caretaker can engage with baby.”

Here are some ways to reduce risks for sleeping infants:

  • Place babies on their backs to sleep. SIDS deaths decreased significantly following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “back to sleep” campaign, in which parents were urged to place their babies on their backs, not tummies, to go to sleep.
  • Never bed-share. Room-sharing is recommended, but bed-sharing is not, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Room-sharing without bed-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. Parents should place their baby’s crib in the room where they sleep until the child is at least 6 months old.
  • Use a firm mattress, covered with a fitted sheet, that fits snugly inside the crib.
  • Remove loose bedding and soft objects from the crib.
  • Do not overdress baby for bedtime to prevent overheating. Consider putting a fan in baby’s room in warm weather. Remember, babies are comfortable at the same temperatures as their siblings and parents.
  • Do not use car seats, swings or strollers as beds for infants under the age of four months for routine sleep.
  • Never smoke, drink, or use illicit drugs around an infant.

“Exhausted parents might be tempted to put baby in the bed with them to help the baby fall asleep. But it’s best to let baby fall asleep on their own in a separate space to keep them safe,” Rigby said. “If baby looks tired, get them swaddled and into their crib bassinet so they can learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, so you can do the same.”

More information:

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Cesarean delivery or vaginal birth – Which is right for you?

If you’re pregnant, you may wonder about how you want to deliver your baby, and how you might end up delivering your baby – either vaginally or via Cesarean section.

The body is designed for vaginal birth, and most babies are born vaginally, where the baby is delivered from the uterus, inside the pelvis, through the vagina to the outside world. But, babies can also be born surgically, through an incision in the abdomen, which is called a Cesarean delivery or C-section. Sometimes a C-section is needed to protect the health of the baby or mother or both, and other times, patients simply prefer a C-section delivery.

Jade Elliott spoke with Dr. Helen Feltovich, a maternal fetal medicine physician, an OB/Gyn who cares for patients with high-risk pregnancies, with Intermountain Healthcare, about the differences between C-sections and vaginal deliveries.

Advantages of a vaginal delivery

Delivering vaginally usually means you’ll recover faster from childbirth and your hospital stay will be shorter.

Common reasons a scheduled C-section may be recommended:

  • Baby is in breech (feet-first or bottom-first) or transverse (sideways) position, rather than cephalic (head-down) position.
  • Placenta previa—placenta is covering all or part of the opening to the birth canal.
  •  Maternal infection the baby can catch if delivered vaginally, such as HIV, or active genital herpes.
  • Multiple gestation (being pregnant with more than one baby).
  • A vertical incision on the uterus from a previous C-section or uterine surgery .
  • More than two previous C-sections.
  •  Baby’s head can’t fit through the maternal pelvis.
  •  Baby has a large birth defect that could rupture during vaginal delivery.

Common reasons for unplanned C-sections

  • Sometimes complications during labor or delivery necessitate a C-section birth.
  • Labor stops or isn’t progressing, or baby can’t fit through the pelvis.
  •  Placental abruption (placenta pulls away from uterine wall too soon, cutting off baby’s oxygen).
  • Umbilical cord becomes pinched or drops into the birth canal ahead of baby, which can lower baby’s oxygen supply.
  • Changes in baby’s heart rate that suggest baby may not be getting enough oxygen

How birth in an operating room is different from birth in a hospital room

While a C-section is a surgery, it is primarily a birth, and this is the focus. Patients are almost always awake and typically have their partner right by them. Mom and partner can see and touch the baby, just like in a vaginal delivery.

As soon as your medical care team is sure your baby is stable, you can hold your baby. Skin to skin contact as soon as possible is encouraged to promote bonding, whether the baby is born via vaginal or Cesarean delivery.

Intermountain is working to reduce unnecessary C-sections

A C-section delivery is major abdominal surgery and like any surgery comes with some risks. If it’s elective, your doctor or midwife can help you evaluate if the benefits of having a C-section outweigh the risks. If there are medical indications, your provider will explain these to you. Once you have a C-section, you have a choice about whether or not to have a C-section in the future, or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean). After you have had two C-sections, it’s not recommended to try a vaginal delivery.

With any surgery, there are risks for possible complications such as infection, injury to bladder or bowel, blood clots and in rare cases, brain damage or death. However, many of these risks apply to pregnancy or delivery in general and they are very, very low. Risks for the baby include a possible increased chance of breathing problems, and extreme sleepiness can occur in the unusual case that general anesthesia is needed.

The C-section rate in the U.S. is a public health issue because of the small increased risk of complication, and increased time of hospitalization. Average stay is two days for a vaginal delivery and 3-4 days for a C-section.

Intermountain was an early adopter of national recommendations to reduce the rate of C-section in American women, and has one of the lowest C-section rates in the country. That said, sometimes patients need to have a C-section for their safety or that of their baby, Intermountain is committed to adhering to evidence-based recommendations for C-section delivery while simultaneously honoring patients’ wishes for how their babies will be delivered.

Vaginal birth after a C-Section for a previous pregnancy

A vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) delivery is possible for anyone who has had only one or two C-section deliveries. There is a small but serious risk of the uterus rupturing during a VBAC delivery because the uterus has a scar from the previous surgery. Talk with your provider about your specific medical history to see if you’re a candidate for a VBAC delivery. Factors involved in the decision include the reason for your previous C-section; the type of uterine incision (if it was low on the belly and done side-to-side, it’s more likely you can try VBAC); when your last delivery occurred (less or more than 18 months ago), and other factors.

Do’s and don’ts for recovery after a C-section


  • Take time to sit and bond with your baby.
  • Rest when you’re tired.
  • Walk every day to maintain strength, and prevent blood clots and constipation.
  • Hold a pillow over your incision when you need to cough or laugh to be more comfortable.
  •  Shower normally (or take a bath after two weeks).
  • Eat healthily
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids.
  • Take a fiber supplement daily to avoid constipation.


  • Lift anything heavier than your baby.
  • Use tampons or douche for at least six weeks.
  •  Take baths for about two weeks, until your incision is healed.
  •  Participate in rigorous activity or core muscle exercises until recommended by your doctor.
  •  Have sex until your body feels ready (at least two weeks).
  • Be afraid to ask for help from friends or family.
  • Soak in public pools or hot tubs for at least six weeks.
  •  Crash diet

C-Section incision care:

  • Keep the incision area dry and clean.
  • Use warm, soapy water to gently wash your incision daily (usually when you shower).
  • Pat the area dry, after cleaning.
  •  If your doctor used tape strips on your incision, let them fall off on their own. This usually takes about a week.

When to call your doctor:

  • Depression, sadness, hopelessness, or having troubling thoughts.
  • Signs of an infection including pain, pus, swelling, redness, swollen lymph nodes
  •  Fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  •  Difficulty breathing.
  •  Vaginal discharge that smells bad.
  • Severe pain in your belly.
  • Bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks through more than one pad in two hours or less.
  • Vaginal bleeding that gets worse or is still bright red more than four days after birth.
  •  Signs of a blood clot, including pain in your thigh, groin, back of knee, or calf.
  • Incision comes open.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Vaginal blood clots larger than a golf ball.
  • Trouble passing urine or stool.

For more information about Cesarean sections visit

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

New dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers

New USDA dietary guidelines are out – and for the first time include the needs of infants and toddlers.

Dietary guidelines are updated every five years to help people know what they should eat and drink to meet nutrient needs, promote health, and prevent disease.

Jade Elliott spoke with Alyssa Scordo, RDN, Intermountain Healthcare, to discuss the new guidelines and how parents should handle sugars and potentially allergenic foods.

This is the first time the guidelines have been differentiated for life stages, from birth to older adulthood, including pregnancy and lactation, said Alyssa Scordo, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Intermountain Healthcare.

“It’s never too early or too late to implement healthy eating – that’s what these new guidelines tell us,” Scordo said. “Introducing infants and toddlers to healthy foods can make a difference in their health and wellbeing throughout their lives.”

Research shows an individual’s eating habits have the greatest impact on their health. Nationally, more than half of all adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor diets and not enough physical activity. Childhood obesity continues to rise, with about one-fifth of children clinically obese nationwide.

Here’s what the new “Make Every Bite Count” dietary guidelines say for infants and toddlers:

Birth to 6 months: Exclusively feed infants human milk and continue through at least the first year of life. If human milk is not possible, feed infants iron-fortified formula during the first year of life. Provide supplemental Vitamin D soon after birth.

At 6 months: Introduce nutrient-dense complementary foods, and a variety of foods from all food groups. Include foods rich in iron and zinc, particularly for infants fed human milk.

Start introducing allergenic foods, such as peanuts, egg, cow milk products, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish, fish and soy. Introducing peanut-containing foods, for example, reduces the risk that an infant will develop an allergy to peanuts. For infants at high risk of peanut allergy, introduce peanut-containing foods between 4-6 months of age.

Hold off on giving babies foods and drinks with added sugar, and limit foods high in sodium.

At 12 months: Toddlers should consume between 700-1,000 calories per day through age 23 months, in a variety of food groups:

  • Vegetables (2/3 cup to 1 cup)
  •  Fruits (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
  • Grains (3 ounces, half of which are whole grains)
  •  Dairy (1 2/3 cup to 2 cups)
  •  Protein (2 ounces)
  •  Oils (1/2 tablespoon)

It’s also important to avoid added sugar and limit foods high in sodium. Juice should be 100 percent fruit juice, and limited to 4 ounces per day.

Here are a few simple changes to help toddlers eat healthier:

  • Replace sugary cereals with cereals containing minimal added sugar.
  •  Replace fried vegetables with roasted vegetables.
  •  Replace sugary fruit products with fruit canned in 100 percent juice.
  •  Replace high-sodium meats, like hotdogs, with lean ground meats.
  •  Choose unsweetened beverages over sugary drinks.

“Everyone, even young children, can benefit from making changes to what they consume to help build a healthy diet,” Scordo said. “Giving children healthy foods early on will help them make better food choices as an adult, and hopefully, help them to live happier, healthier lives.”

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

For more information:

What parents should know about birthmarks/Hemangioma

Many babies develop birthmarks in the first few weeks of life. Many of those birthmarks are harmless and will disappear with age. But some will need special treatment to prevent issues as the child grows.

Jade Elliott spoke with Dr. Kate Puttgen, Intermountain Healthcare, about birthmarks on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Some infants develop a hemangioma, a non-cancerous tumor made of excess blood vessels. Hemangiomas can be superficial with a red color, or deep beneath the skin with a bluish color, or a mix of superficial and deep with both red and blue coloring, said Dr. Kate Puttgen, a pediatric dermatologist with Intermountain Healthcare. They grow rapidly in the first three to five months of life.

“It’s critical for hemangiomas to be detected early,” Dr. Puttgen said. “Most babies do fine with diagnosis and watchful waiting, but it’s important to work with a pediatrician who can refer the child to a specialist when necessary to ensure the hemangioma is not more dangerous.”

Hemangiomas occur in up to 10 percent of Caucasian infants, and are more common in babies of low-birth weight and who are born prematurely. They also are up to three times more common in girls than in boys.

Hemangiomas can develop anywhere on the body, and go through a period of growth and stabilization, and then decrease in size. Many will eventually disappear, but some can leave behind significant scarring or cause functional problems, such as with vision or feeding, depending on their size and location, Dr. Puttgen said.

Most hemangiomas present by about 2 weeks of age, and will at least double in size in the first two months of life. Eighty percent of the time, the maximum size will be reached by the time the baby is 3 months old, and by age 5 months, the vast majority have essentially finished growing. Deep hemangiomas and larger hemangiomas usually have a longer growth phase.

But in rare cases, a hemangioma can grow for longer periods of time or, if on the head or neck, can create distortion to the face, and result in disfiguring scar tissue or eye damage if left untreated, Dr. Puttgen said.

“The bottom line is, the majority of birthmarks in babies will not adversely affect their growth and development,” she said. “For other more complicated hemangiomas, we have excellent treatments, and can prevent the need for surgery or laser treatment before the child starts school if we start medicine as soon as possible in most cases.”

Beta blockers, commonly used for decades in babies with heart issues, are an effective treatment for hemangiomas, without significant side effects for most babies. The beta blockers shrink hemangiomas, and come in oral or topical versions. They are most effective when used in the baby’s first four months of life, though children as old as 5 years have benefited.

“Well-child checkups are a great time to talk to pediatricians about skin concerns, and address issues early on,” Dr. Puttgen said. “If a parent notices a birthmark, they should feel empowered to speak up and consult with their provider to determine whether a specialist is needed, and know that there are safe and effective treatments.”

For more information about birthmarks, go to

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Prevent heat stroke in vehicles

As the weather warms up, parents and caretakers need to pay extra attention to protect children from accidental heatstroke in cars.

People should never leave a child in a vehicle – even for a minute – to prevent unintended injury or even death.

Jade Elliott spoke with Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, to discuss how to keep your children safe.

“Even if it’s not that warm outside, the insides of cars heat up quickly and can present a serious hazard for children,” said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “Everyone must remain vigilant to never leave a child alone in a car for any amount of time to prevent a tragedy.”

About 40 children across the country die each year after being left in a hot vehicle, Strong said.

In Utah, 13 children have died in hot vehicles since 1990, and others have suffered injuries in “close calls.”

Yet 2020 was one of the lowest years for heat stroke deaths in recent memory, at 25 deaths nationwide. In Utah, no hot car deaths were reported.

“My speculation is that with fewer people driving, and more parents working from home, there were fewer opportunities to leave children in cars, resulting in fewer deaths,” Strong said. “My hope, though, is that this decrease is the start of a trend in the right direction, which will continue until the number of deaths reaches zero.”

Strong says accidental heat stroke tragedies can happen to anyone, and often occur when caretakers forget a child is in the car.

Stress, fatigue, and change of routine can push a person’s brain into autopilot, making it easier to forget. Summer time can present more risk of injury due to hot weather and changes in routine, including children out of school and families staying up late for activities.

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is offering these tips to help caretakers remember that a child is inside a vehicle to prevent unintentional injuries:

– Never leave your child alone in a vehicle – even for a few minutes. A child’s body temperature can increase 3-5 times faster than an adult’s. Cracking a window has very little effect on the temperature inside the car.

  • Always check your vehicle before leaving it.
  • Keep a visual reminder that a child is with you, like a stuffed animal or diaper bag in the seat next to you.
  • Place something you’ll need when you arrive at your destination, like your briefcase, backpack, purse or cell phone, in the back seat. That way, when you reach for the item, you’ll likely see the child.
  • If you see a child left alone in a car, contact the police or call 911.

For more information, visit

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Keep kids safe from window falls this spring

It’s nice to open the windows to let fresh spring air circulate the home. But open windows also bring hidden dangers for children, said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

“Windows are a fall hazard for kids, and the consequences can be severe,” Strong said. “Window screens are a great way to keep bugs out, but not kids in.”

Jade Elliott spoke with Jessica Strong, community health manager, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, to discuss how to keep your children safe on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Nearly 15,000 children are injured by falling out of windows every year. Often, children were leaning against window screens before they fell.

Window screens are designed to easily pop out in case of a fire or other emergency to help people easily escape. As a result, they give way with moderate pressure.

“The best way to keep children safe from window falls is to keep them away from open windows,” Strong said. “There are a number of precautions that can be taken, but it’s important to remember there is no substitute for adult supervision. Most window falls occur when children are alone.”

Here are some other tips for preventing window falls:

  • Keep windows closed and locked.
  •  Before opening a window, make sure it is inaccessible to children.
  • Keep furniture or anything children can climb on away from windows.
  • Teach children only to open windows with permission and help from adults.
  •  Consider installing window locks, guards, or other safety equipment to prevent children from opening windows too wide — or at all — without help from an adult.

For more information:

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

How dads can bond with baby

Bonding with a new baby is critical. But when the baby’s bond with the mother is very strong, dads may feel as if they are less important in the baby’s life.

Jade Elliott spoke with Dr. Neal Davis, pediatrician and medical director of pediatric community-based care for Intermountain Healthcare, on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast. Dr. Davis said a dad’s interaction with newborns and children as they grow up is critical in child development.

The strongest bonds start with a father’s interactions with the mother, Dr. Davis said.

“This cannot be overstated: The most fundamental way that dads can create that early bond with their babies is to be a supportive, healthy partner for the mother,” he said. “The relationship with the mother over time is connected to a dad’s ability to engage positively with the child.”

Data show that dads bring a different approach to interactions, from their voices to their choices of play, that help babies develop and grow, Dr. Davis said.

Yet some dads encounter barriers to engaging with their child. Mental wellness can be a challenge, be it depression – experienced before or after the birth of a child – lack of sleep, or financial stresses. Some infants and toddlers may cry if they’re not with their mother, which can be discouraging.

It’s important to recognize that children go through different phases and attachments, Dr. Davis said. “Dads staying engaged, nurturing, and active with children matters, because phases and attachments change.”

Dr. Davis provides these tips to help new dads bond with baby:

-Put the phone down! Texting, talking, or scrolling disrupts meaningful interactions with children.
-Go outside, take a walk, and explore the bigger world together. Look at trees, smell flowers, sit on the grass. This could ease the initial emotional reaction of the child’s attachment to mom.
-Attend well-child and medical appointments.
-Understand the child’s development phases, and be flexible. For young children, dads can make funny faces, animal sounds, or sing; turn on music and dance; wrestle or play chase.
-Read books together. This could mean finding a tiger in a picture book, roaring together and chasing each other around like tigers.
-Be patient, be engaged and be yourself.

“Dads are different than moms, they’re going to parent differently than moms, and that can be very good for the child to pick up on nuances from a different parent,” Dr. Davis said. “There are no perfect parents, and we’re all trying and engaging with children the best that we can. Just keep on going.”

Click here to listen to our dads and postpartum depression podcast mentioned in this episode.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Avoiding toxic substances during pregnancy

When you find out you’re pregnant, it seems to change everything. Suddenly you’re thinking not just about yourself, but about the baby you’re carrying. You may have questions about what substances or environmental exposures may be harmful to you or your baby while you’re pregnant.

There’s the usual medical advice about avoiding alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs when you’re pregnant. Plus, it seems many people are much more aware of their environment these days and the products they use. If you’re pregnant, that adds an additional layer of wondering what over the counter medications are safe to use, and if chemicals or poor air quality could cause harm to you or your baby.

Jade Elliott spoke with Virginia Homewood, an OB/Gyn with Intermountain Healthcare on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast to explain some of the substances to avoid, some obvious and some you may not be as familiar with.

Why is it important to avoid toxic substances when you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant? Is it to protect you or the baby?

When we think about toxic exposures during pregnancy, some things can be somewhat harmful to mom, but often we’re typically more concerned about the effect of the exposures on the developing fetus.

What are the most important substances to avoid when you’re pregnant?

Alcoholic beverages – We don’t know if there’s a safe level you can consume when you’re pregnant, so the best advice is to not consume any. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Drinking alcohol has been linked to severe developmental issues, learning difficulties, attention deficit disorders, and other developmental problems that don’t appear until later in a baby’s life.

Illegal Drugs – There are so many types of illegal drugs and the effects are varied depending on the drug. With narcotics, we see addiction in the baby. Then the baby suffers from withdrawal symptoms. It can cause neurodevelopmental problems as well. Other drugs affect the pregnancy and can cause complications for the mother, like high blood pressure or preterm labor.

Smoking – Smoking cigarettes can increase your chance of miscarriage or preterm labor. It also can affect fetal growth, and increases the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Vaping during pregnancy would also be harmful, since e-cigarettes contain nicotine. E-cigarettes are less-regulated than regular cigarettes and that means the amount of nicotine or other substances in them is harder to determine.

What other toxins should be avoided during pregnancy?

Mercury – Pregnant women should limit mercury, which is found in some fish. Mercury affects neurodevelopment and the brain of the developing fetus. Limit your choices to low-mercury fish. Fish is an excellent source of lean protein and the fish oil found in fish is especially healthy, so it’s important to find the balance. A good goal is to eat two servings of low mercury fish per week. Lake fish and shellfish are safe to eat.

Avoid these types of fish if you’re pregnant:

King mackerel
Orange roughy
Tilefish (from Gulf of Mexico)
Big eye tuna
Fish with lowest levels of mercury include:
Canned tuna,
Trout (freshwater)
For more information see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations for pregnant women about fish.

Hair and nail salons

We don’t know if the chemicals to color or perm your hair or do your nails are harmful or not. If you can smell it, it’s probably not good. Skip the salon temporarily or make sure the area is well-ventilated.

The best strategy is to adopt the mindset that fewer exposures is better. Reduce your exposure to things that are harmful.

What toxic exposures might there be in your own home?

Chemicals used in plastics such as phthalates. BPA is example. BPA has been removed from most baby products, but it’s replaced with other BPP or other similar bisphenol molecules.

Be aware of plastics and use them safely. Don’t reuse disposable plastic bottles. Don’t re-heat food in the microwave in plastic, like Tupperware or plastic wrap. Heat food in a dish or in glass. Cover the dish with waxed paper or a paper plate. The plastics leach into the food. Especially avoid plastics marked #7 and #3.

Toxins in food or personal care products

Read packages and labels and understand what is in your food or beauty products. Organic food costs more, but is a good option if you’re concerned about pesticides. The Environmental Working Group has a list of produce that rates those highest in pesticides, called The Dirty dozen as well as a list of produce with low amounts of pesticides, called The Clean 15. They also have a page called Skin Deep that has information about the ingredients in personal care products.

Eating and preparing food

Pregnant women should make sure meats are cooked all the way through before eating. Deli-meats, need to be heated and not eaten cold. And if you’re pregnant, only eat dairy products that are pasteurized.

Keep your house dust free. Mop your floors. Use a HEPA filter on vacuum. This will help reduce toxins in your home.

Opt for natural cleaning products. You can create your own with vinegar. You can soak citrus fruit in it for a better scent. A lot of cleaners are not studied in pregnant women, so we just don’t know if they’re safe. When you are using cleaning products, keep the room well-ventilated.

Avoid flame retardants. Try to buy infant clothing without flame retardants, because they contain toxins. Flame retardants are common in pajamas, costumes, and furniture.

Are there certain over the counter medications that should be avoided during pregnancy?

Any medication has a potential for harm during pregnancy. It’s best to not take anything before you talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you know if over the counter medications are safe and when it is safe to take them. They can also help review any prescription medications you have. For pain relief, Tylenol is preferred over Advil or aspirin for pregnant women.

Are there certain prescription medications that should be avoided?

Medications that should not be taken when you’re thinking of getting pregnant or during pregnancy would include the acne medication Accutane, ace inhibitors, and some blood pressure or diabetes medications.

If you’re taking medication and thinking of getting pregnant go in for a check-up. Many women have put off going to the doctor during the pandemic, but Intermountain has many safety protocols in place to protect you and your provider from COVID-19.

Does it matter what trimester you’re in as far as reducing exposure to environmental toxins or medications?

Generally, during the first trimester, in the early development stages, is when your baby is most at risk of being affected by exposures. But it varies, from medication to medication. Some are a concern later in pregnancy.

What about toxic exposures in the workplace?

Let your doctor or midwife know about your work environment. You’ll want to minimize your exposure if you work with cleaners or chemicals, whether you work in a factory, warehouse, dry cleaners, salon or in healthcare.

Where can women go for more information? Talk with your provider about any medications you’re taking or substances you’re concerned about.

Another great resource is Mother to Baby, the nation’s leading authority and most trusted source of evidence-based information on the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It’s a no-cost information service available to mothers, health professionals, and the general public via chat, text, phone, and email in both English and Spanish. It’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health.

The phone number for Mother to Baby is 1-866.626.6847.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.