Keeping your pēpi healthy and safe

There are important things to think about to keep your pēpi safe. This includes in bed, the car, burns and fire, and staying safe in the sun. Find out how to keep your pēpi healthy and safe during their first 6 weeks.

Never shake, hit or smack your pēpi

Keep your pēpi healthy

Keep your pēpi healthy by:

  • breastfeeding them
  • immunising them on time
  • having a smokefree home and car.

Make sure that your pēpi is enrolled with:

  • a general practice
  • a Well Child Tamariki Ora service
  • the Community Oral Health Service.

Your midwife can help you with this.

If you use a dummy or pacifier

If you are giving a dummy or pacifier to your pēpi, do not dip it in sugar, honey or sweetened drinks.


Immunisation helps to protect your pēpi from serious diseases and from dying suddenly in their sleep. Immunisations are free and start at 6 weeks of age.

National Immunisation Schedule

Smokefree homes and cars

A smokefree home and car helps to protect your pēpi from:

  • chest infections
  • glue ear
  • asthma
  • dying suddenly in their sleep.

If your pēpi is sick

Babies and tamariki get sick often. Coughs and colds are a normal part of childhood. They will usually get better after a few days. You can find out more about childhood illnesses on the KidsHealth website.

KidsHealth (external link)

If your pēpi is sick and does not seem to be getting better, or you are worried:

  • call your midwife
  • call Healthline for free advice on 0800 611 116
  • take them to your healthcare provider, doctor or practice nurse. 
Call 111 and ask for an ambulance in an emergency if your pēpi shows any danger signs.

Baby and child sickness danger signs — Ministry of Health (external link)

Keep pēpi safe in bed

Every year too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep. Many of these deaths can be prevented. Learn how to keep your pēpi safe while sleeping, how to make sure their bed is safe, and help you might be able to get. 

Keeping your pēpi safe in bed

Car safety

Use a baby car seat or baby capsule in all cars, for all trips. The car seat should be rear facing so that your pēpi faces the back of the car. 

Rear facing child restraints — Plunket (external link)

Car seats or capsules protect your pēpi when travelling. Car seats and capsules are not safe for your pēpi to sleep in when you are not travelling. Do not use them as a cot or bassinette.

Burns and fire

Keep your pēpi safe from scalds and burns. 

Water temperature

Your tap water temperature should be around 50°C. See if it is OK by holding your hand under the running tap for 5 seconds. A plumber or electrician can fix the water temperature if it is too hot. 

It is always best to put cold water in the bath first. Test that the bathwater is safe for your pēpi — it should be about 37°C. You can use your elbow to check the temperature. If it feels to hot for your elbow, it will be too hot for your pēpi.

Hot drinks

Be careful with hot drinks. Avoid drinking them while you are holding pēpi. 

Smoke alarms

Make sure that your house has smoke alarms. Check their batteries twice a year. The Fire and Emergency website has advice on fire safety in the home, and making an escape plan. 

Related websites

Product Safety New Zealand

Choosing safe products and learning to use them safely can help to keep your kids safe. The products on this page are covered by product standards.

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