Pregnant woman beside stroller, car seat and crib
1 / 9

What Do You Need for Your New Baby?

Before you welcome your baby home, you'll want to have everything in place. Along with diapers, bottles, and baby clothes, you'll need to get the "big 4": car seat, crib or bassinet, stroller, and -- thinking ahead -- a high chair. Use these tips to make smart, safe choices.

Swipe to advance
baby in car seat
2 / 9

Have the Car Seat Ready

It's a once-in-a-lifetime trip -- your baby's first ride home! Install the car seat ahead of time so everything's ready. Newborns should ride in rear-facing car seats. Follow installation instructions, or find a child safety seat inspection station for help. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website lists stations, or you can call 888-327-4236. The middle of the backseat is the safest spot to install the seat.

Swipe to advance
baby in car seat
3 / 9

Types of Rear-Facing Seats

Infant-only seats are smaller than regular baby seats. The seat may come out of the base and have handles so you can use it to carry your little one. You can make a convertible seat rear-facing and then change it to forward-facing when your child gets older. But this kind does not have a separate base or carrying handles. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.

Swipe to advance
Man standing beside crib in nursery
4 / 9

Safe Crib Checklist

Thinking about using an old-fashioned crib? Think carefully -- buying new will give you confidence that it's up to the latest safety standards. No drop-side cribs, for example. You can check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if a crib has been recalled and for information on risks from these products. Other things to check about your crib: No missing, broken, or loose parts. All moving parts should run on track, smoothly. No more than 2 3/8 of an inch (less than a soda can width) between the crib's slats. The top of corner posts should be out of a child's reach or should be less than 1/16 of an inch high so clothing can't get caught.

Swipe to advance
Baby sleeping in crib
5 / 9

Buying a Crib Mattress

You'll need to purchase a separate mattress for the crib. Get a firm one that fits snugly inside it. A space greater than two fingers' width between the mattress and the frame means that you need a bigger mattress. To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), only use a fitted bottom sheet made for crib mattresses, and keep the crib free of pillows, blankets, pillow-like bumper pads, and stuffed toys -- those items can smother a baby.

Swipe to advance
Pregnant woman with bassinet
6 / 9

How to Choose and Use a Bassinet

Some parents prefer to put their baby in a bassinet at first. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends choosing one certified for safety by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Look for a sturdy bottom with a wide base; smooth surfaces; legs with locks; and a snug-fitting mattress. Just as you would with a crib, make sure there are no pillows, quilts, comforters, blankets, pillow-like bumper pads, or stuffed toys in with the baby.

Swipe to advance
Mother working at computer with baby in stroller
7 / 9

Which Stroller Is Right for You?

Standard strollers usually feature reclining seats, cup holders, trays, and under baskets. Some have a seat that doubles as a carrier and fits your car seat to make transfers easy. There are also lightweight strollers that can be easier to handle. Check the size and weight requirements, though. Many lightweight strollers may not work for babies under 3 months old. The JPMA also certifies strollers for safety, so look for its seal on boxes.

Swipe to advance
baby in stroller
8 / 9

Stroller Safety Tips

Always strap your child in, even if your journey is a short one. You can choose a stroller with a T-strap or a 5-point restraint (with shoulder belts). Make sure the leg openings are small enough that an infant won't slide through them. Don't hang a purse or baby bag on the handles. That could make the stroller tip over backward.

Swipe to advance
Happy baby girl in high chair
9 / 9

When Baby's Ready for a High Chair

When your baby starts to sit up and eat solid foods, a high chair is essential. Choose one with a wide base that won't tip over easily. Look for easy-to-use straps, and always strap your baby in with both the waist belt and the strap between the legs. Don't rely on the tray to restrain her -- it's for holding food, not a squirming child. Make sure she stays seated (no standing up) and never leave her alone in the high chair.

Swipe to advance

Up Next

Next Slideshow Title

Sources | Medically Reviewed on 02/13/2017 Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on February 13, 2017

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Thomas Barwick / Riser
2) Getty Images
3) Martha Lazar / The Image Bank
4) Ale Ventura / Photoalto
5) Image Source
6) Creatas
7) Creatas
8) Getty Images
9) Image Source

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: "A Parent's Guide to Safe Sleep," "Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2011."
Consumer Product Safety Commission: "Crib Safety Tips."
Consumer Reports: "Crib safety tips."
ConsumerReports.org: "On the go: Stroller safety."
Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association: "Safe and Sound for Baby."
KidsHealth.org: "Choosing Safe Baby Products: Strollers."
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: "4 Steps for Kids: Rear-Facing Seats."
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: "The Safe Nursery."

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on February 13, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

NEXT IN THE SERIES

From WebMD