Healthy Baby

Healthy Baby


In an emergency, the solution on the web will take too much time to find and absorb, so we summarized the essential information below. We added a short video on emergency birth, choking and not breathing, and recommend you watch them before your baby arrives so you're prepared.

Handling an Emergency Birth 

It’s too late to head for the hospital if she says she can feel the baby coming and she can’t stop pushing, and especially if she can feel the baby’s head. Here’s what to do

1. Call 911 & They Will Walk You Through the Birth

If you’re home, don’t attempt to get her into a car and to the hospital. Call 911 and stay on the line. If you’re home alone, try to get someone to assist. If you’re in your car, make sure you know the address or cross streets. Pull over, put on your flashers.

2. Get Blanket/Towel/Shirt to Wrap Your Baby In

Something you can wrap the baby in once he is born. Grab two if available. 

3. Reassure Her and Tell Her to Breath Instead of Push

Reassure her, tell her that everything’s fine. Encourage her to breathe through her contractions instead of pushing to slow the process. 

4. Get Mom comfortably on Her Back

Get her to lie back with enough room for you to safely catch your slippery child. First babies usually come slowly but may come quickly. Be prepared.

5. Get Positioned to Catch Your Baby

Wet, slippery and wiggling babies can be tough to catch, so get ready; try to have a safe place for the baby to land if they slip out of your hands. As the head appears, tell mom to stop pushing to reduce risks of a tear. 

6. Check for Umbilical Cord & Clear Nose and Mouth

Let the baby come out on their own; don’t pull. If the umbilical cord is wrapped around their neck, carefully slide it over their head. Wipe down on their nose to clear mucous, and use a finger to wipe mucous from their mouth.

7. Finish The Birth

As the baby is being born, tell Mom to stop pushing and just breathe; if the baby doesn’t slide out, encourage Mom to push a little more. Put one hand under the baby's head/neck and use the other to grab both their feet so they doesn’t slip away.


8. Help Him Start Crying

Babies usually start crying within seconds of being born. If he doesn't, rub his back or chest briskly while wiping him off or slap the soles of his feet. 


9. Don’t Cut the Cord

Leave it for the paramedics or hospital to handle.


10. Place Your Baby on Mom

Place the baby naked on your partner, and then cover them, making sure you can see the baby's face. Keep Mom and Baby warm.


EMS Obstetric Delivery Simulation
(No Complications) (3:09)

Wait for the Paramedics

If they're not available, carefully drive your family to the hospital’s emergency entrance. Do not rush, and keep your eyes on the road.

If Your Baby is Choking

Can your baby cry or cough? If not:

1. Give 5 Back Blows

 Lay him face down over your arm and hit him with the heel of your hand to force out what is in his throat. A solid hit is needed; hit yourself on the chest a few times to determine an appropriate force. Hit him 5 times.


2. Give 5 Chest Thrusts

 If that doesn’t work, turn him over on your arm and use two fingers to push on his chest to dislodge what is in his throat.


3. Repeat Steps 1 & 2:

Repeat above until effective or the infant becomes unconscious. If the infant becomes unresponsive, perform CPR (below). If you see an object in the throat or mouth, carefully remove it without pushing it into his throat. 


How to Save a Choking Baby (2:48)

CPR on an Infant (1:53)

  If Your Infant Needs CPR

If your baby is not breathing, shout and tap her on the shoulder. If there is no response, direct someone to call 911, or dial 911 on your phone, put it on speaker, and do the following:

1. Shout & Tap:
Shout and gently tap the child on the shoulder. If there is no response, and he is not breathing or not breathing normally, position the infant on his or her back and begin CPR.


2. Give 30 Compressions
Give 30 gentle chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. Use 2-3 fingers in the center of the chest just below the nipples. Press down approximately 1½ inches.


3. Open the Airway
Open the airway using a head tilt, lifting the chin. Do not tilt the head too far back.


4. Give Two Gentle Breaths
If the baby is NOT breathing or not breathing normally, give 2 gentle breaths. Cover the baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth. Each breath should be 1 second long. You should see the baby’s chest rise with each breath. Keep giving compressions and breaths until help arrives.



Source: University of Washington

Poison Control Center

If you suspect your baby has ingested a toxic substance, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 before symptoms develop (or even if you just have general questions about poisons). They will ask you what was ingested (check the label) and for an estimate of how much and when it happened. The center will advise you on what to do.

When to Call 911 or Go to the ER

How to Tell Your Baby’s Not Well  

There will be visible signals when your baby isn't feeling well. The most obvious are fever, runny nose, cough or rash. There are also less obvious signals: baby may be lethargic or very cranky, not be interested in anything or anyone around him, have little or no appetite, spit up more than usual, or have stools that are either very hard or runny. The intensity and duration of such symptoms are also factors that will help you, a nurse, or a doctor determine how to treat the little one.

When to Call the Doctor

Pediatricians tell you “if in doubt, call”. At first, it can be difficult to know when to call, so err on the safe side.  Over time, you’ll learn just through experience when to call and when to not. If you’re concerned about splotchy skin, a cough, sneezing, diarrhea, crossed eyes, not eating, etc., check with your nurse hotline or your pediatrician. 

Be Ready to Answer Questions

Be ready to answer questions. Being prepared will save time during a phone call, office visit or emergency situation. Expect questions about:

  • Your baby's symptoms
  • Your baby's medical history
  • Changes in your baby's feeding and bowel movements
  • Changes in your baby's temperature
  • Home remedies and medications
  • Possible exposures

The Mayo Clinic offers additional information on the above in their guidelines for when to pick up the phone.

When to Go to the ER

Go to the Emergency Room:

  • when baby has a serious wound, burn or fractured bone.
  • to evaluate a head injury.
  • to X-ray a possible broken bone.
  • to evaluate a cut that may need stitches.
  • when baby has a high fever or other serious illness.
  • when your child has fallen more than 5 feet onto a hard surface.
  • for any condition you feel may need emergent care.

You can also call your doctor or nurse hotline for advice, which may save you a costly emergency room visit.

When to Call 911

Call 911 if your child is experiencing any of the following:

  • Not breathing or has difficulty, such as breathing very rapidly.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Has been injured in or by a moving vehicle.
  • Has serious bleeding or severe burns.
  • Fractured leg or other serious fracture.
  • Experiencing a seizure.
  • Choking on something you cannot help him expel.
  • Has a deformity of the skull—a possible skull fracture.
  • Bleeding or clear fluid is streaming from the nose/ear/mouth.
  • Experiencing a condition you feel is life or limb threatening.

Call 911 or yell for someone else to do so. Push the speakerphone button on your phone so you can hear instructions while treating your child.


Fevers and Colds

Fever is how the human body responds to an infection. A normal rectal temperature in an infant is 99.6°F (37.5°C), and doctors consider 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38°C) a fever, so accuracy when taking their temperature is important. If the baby is less than two months old and their rectal temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, a low-grade fever has lasted longer than a few days, or if there is a rash along with the fever, call your pediatrician. Also call if your baby’s cough comes from deep in their chest, if their breathing is labored, or if they are wheezing.

Taking a Newborn's Temperature (1:17)


A digital thermometer inserted into your infant’s rectum is recommended due to its accuracy. This video demonstrates exactly how to take your infant's temperature (1:17).

Using the Nose Bulb

A baby cannot blow his nose, so you'll need to do it for him using a nose bulb (looks like a small turkey baster). He'll hate having it stuck up his nose and will thrash around, making it a very difficult maneuver. Lay him face-up on the bed, wrap your arm around his head and place your hand on his chest to keep him from moving. With your other hand squeeze the air out of the bulb, quickly place it gently but snuggly into one nostril and let the bulb expand. Repeat in the other nostril. Being quick is the key.

Giving Your Baby Medicine 

Don’t give your baby any medicine without first checking with your pediatrician. A small dose of an adult pain reliever or decongestant may seem reasonable, but a baby’s nervous and immune systems are very different from yours and can present problems. 

  1. Use a pediatric medicine measuring device
  2. Mix it with a small amount of milk in their bottle
  3. Or use a syringe: let them suck on it or squirt a little medicine in at a time and let them swallow before the next squirt. 

Falls and Bumps on the Head 

Head bonks are common among babies due to the high proportion of their body weight in their heads, and their dumb and fearless nature. Head injuries require extra vigilance, so if baby tumbles off a couch, trips while toddling around, or falls while trying to climb the bookcase, do a thorough check for injuries and watch them closely afterwards. 


The scalp is rich with blood vessels and even a minor cut can bleed profusely. However, even if the baby appears OK, they may have an internal injury that can be very serious. If your baby does hurt their head, you’ll need to determine how serious it is and how to respond. If it’s obviously serious, call 911.

Take the baby to the doctor or emergency room if:

  • They seem weak or confused.
  • They have trouble moving any body part or there’s an arm/leg deformity.
  • Blood is in the whites of their eyes or pink fluid runs from their nose or ears. 
  • They show signs of concussion: crossed eyes, pupils unequal in size, vomiting.
  • Your baby cries loudly when you move any body part.
  • They are sleeping more than normal.
  • The won’t stop crying.

If no injury is evident but the baby fell from a significant height or was hit with significant force, call the pediatrician or nurse line for advice and direction, as the baby may have suffered a concussion.


Vaccinations safeguard your child from serious, potentially life-threatening and preventable diseases. Infants are given their first vaccination (Hepatitis B) at birth and the immunization schedule continues at intervals starting at 8 weeks. If you have questions or concerns, speak to your pediatrician, and the following websites provide detailed information and resources:

CDC: Vaccines & Immunizations

AAP: Immunizations


Most babies get their first teeth between 4 and 6 months. As the teeth grow, they push through the baby’s gums, which can be very painful. Drooling is the first sign of teething and there may be a slight fever. Most babies will let you know loudly that they are uncomfortable. Give him a teething ring that has been cooled in the refrigerator (not frozen) to chew on. Your knuckle will also work. 

Teething Tips (1:26)


A thick book like Baby 411 or Caring for Your Baby and Young Child is suggested so you can quickly look up any health issue among the huge variety that can develop. We give you basic information on health issues dads have found challenging, but there are many more.

Keep these sites handy for more information if your baby appears sick: 

Mayo Clinic: Infant & Toddler Health

AAP: Healthy Children

March of Dimes: Your Baby’s Checkups Caring for Your Sick Baby

WebMD: Fever in Babies