Parents Are Asking People Not to Touch Their Newborns—Especially During Flu Season
Parents are using "No Touching" signs to remind people that little ones' immune systems make them more susceptible to germs.
Every fall, we hear endless buzz about making sure your L.O. gets their flu shot and takes sick days when necessary. But parents of newborns want to convey a related, but very different and important message this time of year: Please don't touch their infants, whose immature immune systems make them significantly more susceptible to germs. Because both strangers and loved ones quite often can't help themselves, some parents have started using "No Touching" signs.
Last spring, a mom on the popular Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk shared a photo of one such sign on a child's car seat. The caption: “Thoughts? Would you put this on your baby's car seat?”
Most commenters were supportive of the idea. "Don’t touch other people or their children. It’s creepy. Don’t be creepy," one wrote. Another said they had tried it themselves, writing, "Got one for my preemie baby ! So far being home from Picu it works! And I keep a cover on him."
Still, there were commenters who prefer different tactics over the signs. "I slap hands," one wrote. "Seriously, my youngest is 6 months and my oldest is 3. If I've repeatedly asked you not to poke, pinch, grab or hold my baby—don't touch her. It's not so much the germs (anymore), but you don't just go up and touch someone else's baby."
Others see it as overkill. "My babies were born healthy and on time or after," one commenter wrote. "We have a big family and couldn’t keep all the germy kids away. Both kids are happy and healthy now after being exposed to countless germs. I welcome boosting the immune system!"
Yet the selection of "No Touching" signs on Etsy continues to blow up.
Given that babies' immune systems don't mature until they're about 2 or 3 months old, it makes sense that parents of newborns would want to take extra measures to guard their L.O. against viruses or bacteria. That said, the Cleveland Clinic points out that the mother’s immune system does continue to protect her infant with antibodies that were shared through the placenta immediately after birth. Those antibodies stay active for the first few weeks of a baby’s life and will guard somewhat against colds and flu.
Nonetheless, when it comes to a newborn being out and about during the season of viruses running rampant, a sign like this couldn't hurt. If moms and dads want to try one out, more power to them.