Newborns are adorable, but they’re also vulnerable. As tempting as it can be to lay some love on the sweet baby of a friend or family member, it’s also incredibly risky — and one mom is sharing an important warning about the risks of kissing newborns.
Kelli Beachner and her husband, Dalton, welcomed their son, Colton, earlier this year. When Kelli was still pregnant with her baby boy, the couple decided they would enact a strict no-kissing policy to minimize their son’s exposure to dangerous germs. Despite this decision, Colton ended up contracting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — and Kelli believes a kiss may have been to blame.
According to the Mayo Clinic, RSV causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. It’s an extremely common virus, and most kids will have been infected with it by the age of 2. However, RSV can be extremely dangerous — and potentially deadly — among those with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems, including preemies, the elderly, and newborns who have not yet been exposed to germs or vaccinated.
Thankfully, Colton survived his ordeal. But in an effort to prevent other parents from going through what she and Dalton did, Kelli decided to share her story on Facebook.
Kelli shared her story on November 21, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
Alongside several photos of Colton during his ordeal, Kelli wrote:
“Here’s my lengthy RSV speech since that season is upon us again. Before Colton was born we had our minds set on absolutely no kisses. But somehow it happened.
“When Colton was 6 days old, I walked up to him when he was napping and found his top lip was blue and that he wasn’t responding. I picked him up so fast that it startled him and he thankfully started crying.”
“Dalton and I took him in and after some testing was done we were told Colton was positive for RSV, that in the morning he needed to go to the Respiratory clinic.
“I didn’t sleep for a minute that night. I don’t even think I blinked as I stared at him all night praying that he had the strength, while we sat in the bathroom with steam from a hot shower to help him breathe.”
“The next day we went to Children’s Mercy Respiratory Clinic. There we were told his oxygen saturation was so low they not only couldn’t release him, but we immediately had to sign paper work for our 7 day old to be transported by ambulance on oxygen to be admitted at the other location.
“Doctors were already prepping him for the incubator before I even could comprehend what was being said. We had to watch our son be hooked to a machine to get the oxygen his little body needed. He was diagnosed with RSV and bronchiolitis.”
“The doctors made it a point to be encouraging through our stay, but at the same time were very clear of the danger of RSV and bronchiolitis especially for his age group.
“I’m lucky to say that after seven long days on 100% oxygen and weeks of recovery, he pushed through. But many don’t.”
“The thing that a lot of people don’t know is that it’s not over when they get the hospital release papers. Colton now is more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and has recently been prescribed a nebulizer to help him breathe due to possible asthma (he’s still too young for a complete diagnosis).
“He beat RSV, but it’s still very much impacting his life from the strain it put on him so early in his life. Not to mention the side effects it has on parents and the paranoia it brings.”
“Overall — just don’t be that person. Don’t be the reason a mom and dad have to prepare for the worst. Don’t put your want to see/kiss the baby before the well being of that precious baby. And don’t guilt trip new parents if they wish to protect their baby a little extra.
“Being able to visit a newborn is a privilege, not a right. Your love from a distance is still felt, I promise.”
Kelli’s powerful message was well-received. Many commented on the post, sharing their own experiences with RSV and backing up her warning.
Others backed Kelli up by reiterating that even a simple cold can be too dangerous for a still-developing newborn.
Some moms simply thanked Kelli for sharing her story and revealed what they are doing to avoid exposing their own newborns to RSV.
While newborns are certainly adorable, and people understandably want to shower them with love, respecting the wishes of the parents and keeping the baby safe are top priority — period.
Thankfully, sweet Colton survived his bout with this dangerous virus, though other families are not so lucky.
Kelli also shared some helpful common-sense tips with a commenter who wondered how “paranoid” she needed to be about having contact with newborns.
“Basically, just wash your hands before touching anyone’s baby, and ask permission,” Kelli wrote. “And if you are feeling under the weather at all just keep your distance from babies. If it’s a baby you are close to and you have permission to touch and kiss, then just avoid their mouth and eye area and their hands since they always put their hands in their mouth, which basically leaves the top of the head.”
Don’t forget to share this story to help spread Kelli’s message about RSV awareness!