Can I take a newborn out in public?

Q: Is it safe to take a newborn baby out in public?

A: Even though she may look teeny and delicate, there's no reason to keep your baby cooped up at home -- it's perfectly fine for her to go out and get some fresh air from day one. But it's best to avoid large, crowded, enclosed places with poor ventilation (like the mall) until your baby is 6 to 8 weeks, which limits her exposure to airborne germs that could be dangerous for her immature immune system. Instead, go for a walk in the park or around your neighborhood (as long as it's not the dead of winter). In any season, as a general rule, dress baby in the same number of layers you're wearing. And indoors or out, remember that your baby's most likely to get sick from being handled by germy friends and family, so make sure that everyone scrubs up before holding her, especially during cold and flu season.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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