A substance that can cause an allergic reaction. There are many but common examples are pollen grains, pet hairs, certain foods like nuts and dairy, and some medications.

Alphafetoprotein (AFP) Testing
AFP is the major serum protein of the embryo and early fetus. Detection of AFP in maternal serum forms the basis of maternal serum AFP screening for both neural-tube defects (elevated levels) and Down’s syndrome (low levels).

Withdrawal of amniotic fluid, usually performed by inserting a needle through the abdominal wall, used to determine fetus maturity, chromosome aberration, genetic abnormalities or the sex of the fetus. Amniocentesis is commonly performed after the 15th week.

Amniotic Fluid
The normally clear fluid surrounding the developing fetus, liquid that increases in quantity as pregnancy advances until near-term.

The artificial rupture of the amniotic sac with a tool called the amniohook (a long crochet type hook, with a pricked end) or an amnicot (a glove with a small pricked end on one finger). One of these will be placed inside the vagina, where the caregiver will rupture the amniotic sac or membrane. Frequently performed on women who labor in hospitals for the purpose of speeding up labor, or for insertion of the internal electronic fetal monitor; occasionally it is performed so that the physician can take fetal blood samples, and/or ascertain whether or not there is evidence of meconium staining (fetal bowel movement), which is often considered to be indicative of fetal distress.

The most common cranial defect, in which the brain is replaced by amorphous neural tissue and the skull does not form. Best detected in the second trimester of pregnancy, anencephaly is diagnosed with virtually 100 percent accuracy.

Total or partial loss of sensation, with or without loss of consciousness, induced by the administration of a drug to manage the labor, delivery and/or to complete involution of the uterus after childbirth.

Helpful chemicals that destroy germs and other contaminants.

Appliance Locks
These are generally plastic hinges or straps that can be adhesive (stick on). They will resist varying amounts of force to prevent unsupervised opening of kitchen appliances.

Aspirin should never be given to children due to the risk of the child developing Reye’s Syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal disease of the brain and liver. In other words you should look for it in your child’s medicine. Other terms which mean aspirin are acetylsalicylate, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylate and salicylic acid. (See Acetaminophen).

Audible Tick
A system on some baby monitors that emits a `ticking’ sound from the parent unit in time with the baby’s breathing. (See Parent Unit).

Audio Monitors
Baby monitor systems that transmit the sound of your baby via radio waves to you in another location. Most have variable volume controls (the monitor, not the baby). The most affordable audio monitors use a frequency of 49MHz, which are prone to interference, depending on the circumstances of the location. Next are models that operate on a frequency of 900MHz, these generally have more range and channel options. The widest frequency ranged monitors use 2.4GHz.

Audio/Movement Monitors
A baby monitor that includes a sensor pad. (See Sensor Pad).

Audio/Video Monitors
A baby monitor that transmits the sights as well as the sounds of your baby. A video camera in the nursery sends pictures either to the small TV or to your own main television set.

Auto Close
Spring loaded safety gates that close themselves if accidentally left open.

Auto Lock
Safety gates that lock themselves when they are shut.

Baby Proofing/Childproofing
Generic terms for a whole range of products and precautionary behavior that makes any environment safer for infants and young children. This can range from the simple fitting of VCR guards and electrical outlet plugs to completely transforming the home in many ways.

Belt-Shortening Clip
A locking clip that shortens the length of the lap belts around child safety seats, where the standard supplied clip is not suitable for the model of restraint fitted.

Bi-fold Door Locks
These are sliding strips that fix across the top of bi-folding doors, to prevent them from being opened from further down.

Braxton Hicks Contractions
Uterine contractions described as irregular and non-rhythmical, occurring during pregnancy.

Blankets or other textiles that allow air to flow through them that lessen the chance of accidental suffocation.

A fabric shield on a carriage or stroller which may or may not be collapsible, for blocking wind, rain or sunshine.

Dual or multiple channels on a baby monitor help to lessen signal interference.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (known as CVS)
A high-tech approach to prenatal diagnosis of birth defects, CVS is a technique in which a few placental cells are extracted via a fine hollow needle inserted into the womb. DNA extracted from these cells is subsequently examined for genetic defects. Because CVS can be performed as early as the eight week of pregnancy, it allows women more time to consider the option of terminating the pregnancy than does amniocentesis, which is commonly performed after the 15th week.

Cleft lips / palate
A cleft lip may be an upper split, fissured or breached lip, whereas a cleft palate may be perforated. A cleft lip can either be isolated or associated with a cleft palate. Cleft lips and palates are among the most frequent congenital deformities.

Congenital cardiac abnormalities
Heart disease present at birth; the heart may depart from the usual position, structure or condition.

Convertible Car Seat/Child Restraint
A baby or booster car seat that may be used in either forward or rear-facing positions. For infants the seat should face to the rear, and be semi-upright. Once the baby is one year old (and at least 20 pounds) the seat may be upright and face forward.

Cord Prolapse
Same definition as Prolapsed Cord

Cord Shorteners/Windups
Disc shaped units that open to hold the extraneous lower lengths of window blind or other cords wound round inside it, and then click shut to keep it in place and out of harms way.

CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
A safety promoting organizationin the United States for consumer products, including all baby products.  In Canada, consumer product safety is the responsibility of Health Canada.

These stand for child restraint and child restraint device. There are many such devices designed for better protection of babies and older children while traveling in automobiles, including car seats and car beds. (See CSS).

This abbreviation means a child safety seat.

These sticky labels are placed onto glass for preventing shards in smashes. Also can be known as: Glass Safety Films.

Down’s syndrome
Down’s individuals have a third extra non-sex, or autosomal, number 21 chromosome, whereas normal human chromosomes come in homologous pairs. As a result, Down’s individuals are marked by various degree of mental retardation and have a short, flattened skull, slanting eyes, unusual external ears, slow bone growth and other anomalies. Males with Down’s syndrome are not fertile. Also called Trisomy 21.

Dual Direction
See Two Way Opening.

The European Union safety standard for child safety seats.

Eclampsia (see also Hypertension, proteinuria, Preeclampsia)
Hypertension accompanied by generalized pitting edema or proteinuria after the 20th week of gestation.

Ectopic Pregnancy (+ see Tubal Pregnancy)
Pregnancy resulting from the implantation of the fertilized ovum in a site other than the normal one in the uterine cavity. More than 95% of ectopic pregnancies involve the oviduct (fallopian tube), but tubal pregnancy is not synonymous with ectopic gestation.

Edema (also Oedema)
Swelling of any part of the body due to collection of fluid in the intercellular spaces of tissues. The accumulation of fluid may amount to a liter or so and is caused by an increase in venous pressure below the level of the extended uterus, resulting in partial occlusion of blood pressure. Clearly demonstrable pitting edema of the ankles and legs is seen in a substantial proportion of pregnant women, especially swollen at the end of the day. (See also pitting edema, preeclampsia and varicose veins.)

Edema of preeclampsia is pathological and not just dependent; it usually involves the face and hands and persists even after arising. A useful indicator of nondependent edema is a woman’s complaint that her rings have become too tight.

The epidural is situated upon or over the dura matter. Dura: A tough, fibrous, whitish membrane; the outermost of the 3 membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Extradural: located outside of the dura matter.

Epidural Anesthesia
Anesthesia produced by the injection of an anesthetic agent into the extradural space.

During labor, when the baby’s head is exposed to a diameter of 3 to 4 centimeters, the attending physician will pick up a pair of sterile scissors and snip the stretching skin of the perineum downward toward the anus (median episiotomy) or downward and sideways (mediolateral episiotomy) to enlarge the vaginal opening and make it easier for the head to emerge.

Congenital hernia at the umbilicus, either into the umbilical cord, or through a defect of the abdominal wall (omphalocele proper). Also called umbilical eventration or amniotic hernia.

These are fitted to baby safety gates where doorways are wider than average, or used to construct a fencing arrangement for the dividing up of large rooms into baby safe and unsafe zones.

Fetal Echocardiography
The use of an ultrasonic apparatus that sends sound impulses toward the walls of the heart, which in turn bounce or echo the sounds back; the patterns produced are graphically displayed for interpretation; used for determining the movement patterns of the heart and its valves, chamber size, wall thickness, and the presence of pericardial fluid of the fetus.

Five-Point Harness System
This system of restraining a child in a car seat , with two each of lap and shoulder straps, and a crotch strap buckling them together, is thought safest by most experts.

Floor Rail
The base of the support on some safety gates, this can be a tripping hazard for busy adults.

Folic Acid
Folic Acid is a B Vitamin which has been found to be very important in preventing neural tube defect like Spina Bifida. The Spina Bifida Association of Canada recommends that all women of childbearing age take a supplement of 0.4 mg daily at least one month prior to conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Fully Compliant
This term means that a baby product or other product meets all relevant and required governmental safety standards. These standards can and do differ from country to country. (See PVC for just one example).

Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy-induced glucose intolerance limited to the pregnant condition.

Glucose Tolerance Test
Test for diabetes based on the response to a glucose load.

Ground Anchors
These should be provided by the manufacturers of outdoor swings, and preferably concreted into the ground for an extra safety measure.

Group A and Group B Strep (See Streptococci)
– Hepatic pregnancy / Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) Hepatitis is the most common serious liver disease encountered in pregnant women. 5 distinct types exist; symptoms may precede jaundice by 1 to 2 weeks. These include nausea and vomiting, headache and malaise. Hepatitis E has a high mortality rate in pregnant women.
– HAV: Low-grade fever is more common with hepatitis A, which is transmitted by intestinal and oral routes; may occur sporadically or in epidemics. Also called infectious hepatitis.
– HBV: spread by transfusion of infected blood, use of contaminated needles, the sexual route, or during childbirth. Also called serum hepatitis.

Harness Retainer Clip
This is the cloth, or more commonly plastic, clip holding the twin shoulder straps close to each other and in position.

Herpes Gestationis
A rare skin disease of pregnancy. Despite its name, this disease has no relationship to the herpes virus infection, but rather was named based on the clinical feature of herpetiform blisters.

Herpes simplex
An acute localized eruption of painful blisters, caused by herpes-virus 1 and 2; once established, the infection remains in the body and recurs at intervals with complete healing of the eruption between episodes; reappearance may be precipitated by emotional stress, febrile disease, local trauma or menstruation.

High Risk Pregnancy
In a risk-scoring system, scores of 1 to 10 are given to a variety of pregnancy factors, including preexisting medical illness, previous poor pregnancy performance, evidence of maternal undernutrition, socioeconomic status, reproductive history, daily habits, and current pregnancy complications. Women with scores of 10 or more are considered at high risk for preterm delivery.

Hydatidiform mole (or Molar Pregnancy)
Characterized by abnormalities of the chorionic villi, consisting of varying degrees of trophoblastic proliferation and edema of villous stroma. Moles usually occupy the uterine cavity; however, they rarely may be located in the oviduct and even the ovary. The presence or absence of a fetus or embryo has been used to classify them into complete and partial moles. The fetus of a partial mole will typically have multiple congenital malformations and growth retardation, and it is nonviable.

Excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain (internal h.) or in the subarachnoid spaces (external h.), causing enlargement of the head and compression of the brain.

Hypertension in Pregnancy (see also Eclampsia, Preeclampsia, and proteinuria)
High blood pressure during gestation.

Infant Only Seat
A rear facing car seat that is used by the youngest and smallest of babies.

Intrauterine growth retardation (Ref.: Severe intrauterine growth retardation)
Categorize an infant whose birthweight is clearly below average and usually below the 10th percentile for its gestational age. Also referred to as «fetal growth retardation».

IR (Infrared)
If an audio/video baby monitor system has IR, this means that you can still see your child on screen when the room they are in is dark. (See Audio/Video Monitors).

Lamaze International
A Washington DC based nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting new mothers and their families in all aspects of parenting.

An abnormal, white or yellowish discharge from the vagina, containing mucus and pus cells.

The bloody discharge from the uterus following childbirth.

Magnetic Keys
On drawer and cabinet locks, these remain open when the magnetic key is in place, this being useful for busy parents in the kitchen; so they do not have to keep on adjusting a safety lock themselves during repeated visits to the same place in a short time frame. When leaving the room, the magnetic key is removed, to shut the lock tight.

Maximum Load
This is the heaviest weight of child that products like baby bouncers or jolly jumpers, child and nursery swings have been constructed to safely support.

Molar Pregnancy (see Hydatidiform mole)

Molded construction of plastic items gives an indication as to a lack of possibly breakable component parts.

Motion Indicator
A light on the parent unit of a baby monitor that signifies that the baby is not still. (See Parent Unit).

MSAFP/AFP Test (see Alphafetoprotein)

Multiple Gestation or Multiple Pregnancy
The simultaneous presence of two or more developing fetuses.

Multi-Purpose Latches
These are kitchen appliance latches not specifically designed for a particular appliance, but adaptable, for Ovens, Freezers, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, etc.

Neural-tube Defects
Neural-tube defects result from failure of tubal closure by day 26 to 28 of embryonic life. This produces a spectrum of cranial and spinal canal defects that range from anencephaly to very slight vertebral defects. Also see Folic Acid.

Nylon Mesh/Netting
This is often used along railings to prevent falls or trapped heads.

Obstetrical Anesthesia (see Anesthesia, Epidural and Epidural anesthesia)

Oedema (see Edema)

One Hand Release
These types of locks one child safety gates are easier for a parent or babysitter to use when holding the baby.

Out Of Range Indicator
This is either a cautionary light or sound that warns when the parent unit is not receiving information from the baby’s room.

Operating Range
For baby monitors, this is the maximum distance that the baby unit (transmitter) can send receivable signals to the parent unit. Depending on model and environment, this may be anything from around 30 meters to 300 meters. (Also see above).

Parent Handles
Removable or permanently fixed tall handles attached to the back of (usually wheeled) ride-on or sit `n’ ride toys.

Parent Unit
The radio receiver part of a baby monitor system that is kept with or close to the parent or babysitter.

The area bounded by the pubis, the coccyx, and the thighs.

Pitting edema (see Edema)
Condition in which pressure causes indentations in the skin; those remain for a time after pressure is released.

The organ within the pregnant uterus through which the fetus derives its nourishment; at term it averages 1/6 the weight of the fetus; it is disk-shaped, about 2.5 cm thick, and 17.5 cm in diameter.

Placenta Previa
Condition in which the placenta is implanted in the lower segment of the uterus and covers the cervical opening, partly or completely.

PoisonControl Center
Your local center will advise you on any substance swallowed by your child, so make sure their phone number is readily available.

Post-Term Pregnancy
Pregnancy usually last 280 days or 9 calendar months. When gestation is prolonged beyond term, some fetuses, perhaps the majority, continue to grow and some may achieve a remarkably large size. Those infants who do so have been referred to by some as “post-mature” as well as “post-term”.

Means that a liquid is safe and suitable for drinking.

Of baby monitors, this means the parent unit (receiver) is light weight and battery powered or rechargeable, often with a belt clip for added convenience and peace of mind.

Preeclampsia is diagnosed by development of hypertension plus proteinuria, or edema that is generalized and overt, or both. Only rarely are does preeclampsia develop earlier than 20 weeks’ gestation, and then usually in cases of hydatidiform mole or appreciable molar degeneration.
Although it more commonly affects teenagers or those older than 35, preeclampsia in the older woman is more likely pregnancy aggravated hypertension.

Pressure Fit/Pressure Mounted Gates
These are safety gates that are attached without the need for drilling, screws or adhesives. Sliding pressure bars adjust to the width of the doorway and are then jammed in place by a locking device.

Preterm Birth
When the act of being born occurs before the 38th week of pregnancy.

Preterm Labor
Labor (parturition) occurring before the 38th week of pregnancy.

Prolapsed Cord
Describes the slipping down of the umbilical cord from its normal position.

Prolapsed Uterus
Falling of the uterus into the vagina due to stretching and laxity of its supporting structures.

Excretion of protein in the urine in excess of the normal daily amount; an average-size healthy individual normally excretes up to 100 mg of protein per day.  Proteinuria is an important sign of preeclampsia, to the point that the diagnosis is questionable in its absence. Proteinuria is defined as 300 mg or more of urinary protein per 24 hours or more in at least two random urine specimens collected 6 or more hours apart. (See also preeclampsia)

Relating to the first few weeks following childbirth.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
This material is widely used for many reasons, but in baby safety, soft toys made of this plastic could be toxic. In the European Union, manufacturers and retailers are banned from using this material in teething toys. No such law exists in the United States despite concerns from parents and safety experts.

When a product is found to be unsafe and breaching safety standards after it has been released for distribution, the manufacturer must take action to right the wrong. Consumers have the right to free repairs or replacements on all products recalled for reasons of safety.

RH Isoimmunization
The development of a significant concentration of specific antibody stimulated by the presence of antigens from another individual of the same species, as when fetal cells or other proteins gain access to the maternal circulation, with resulting maternal immunization to the paternal antigens present in the fetal material.

Rolling Casters
Some cribs have these for an aid to easier movement; they should always be lockable if fitted.

Safety Valve
In shower safety taps, this is the device that cuts off the flow of water if the water temperature rises to a level of heat where scalding may be a danger.

Relating to the hip or ischium, or to any structure in its vicinity (like the sciatic nerve).

Any condition characterized by pain along the course of the sciatic nerve; usually a neuritis and generally caused by mechanical compression or irritation of the 5th lumbar spinal root.

Severe intrauterine growth retardation
Severe case of intrauterine growth retardation (see this definition).

Anything with a sticky covering for attaching itself firmly to surfaces, for example, some furniture bumpers are self-adhesive.

Sensor Pad
Extra equipment with some baby monitor systems that if placed under a standard baby mattress, will alert parents if there is no body movement for a given time.

Slam Stoppers
Small, usually rubber stoppers used to prevent the likes of cupboard doors from closing completely, as a protection against trapped or amputated fingers.

On some electrical outlet covers these are plates that fix beneath the outer housing which snap down to guard the sockets when the plug is removed.

Sound Level Indicator
See Visual Sound Indicators.

SPS (Side Protection System)
Child car safety seats with extra strength in the sides.

Spina bifida
Congenital defect in which part of the vertebral column is absent; it allows the spinal membranes and sometimes the spinal cord to protrude. (See also Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defect)

Check carriages, baby walkers, high chairs etc for the presence of wide bases that will prevent easy tipping over.

Standard Gates
Child safety gates which can adjust for doorways measuring from around two and a half feet to just over four feet in width.

Steam Sterilizers
Probably the safest way to deal with baby bottles, these sterilizers can be either designed for use with microwave ovens, be types with their own integral electric heaters, or come as stove top models.

Streptococci – Group A and Group B (referred to as Strep)
Rarely encountered today, the infections caused by «Streptococcus pyogenes» are particularly virulent. A streptococci is a common and ubiquitous group of bacteria, are among the many microbes that normally inhabit the human body; they are also capable of causing serious, even life-threatening infections.
– In Group A: the organism produces a toxic shock-like syndrome in expectant mothers that is highly fatal; prompt penicillin treatment may be lifesaving.
– In Group B: asymptomatic carriage is common in women, especially in the vagina and rectum. The organism has been implicated in several adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm labor, prematurely ruptured membranes, fetal and neonatal infections.

Suction Cups
Used for such things as securing baby bath seats or rings inside the bath.

Age suitability for baby clothes, cribs & strollers is never an exact science, as babies grow and develop at differing speeds.

Supportive Saddle
This is a special type of seating with some suspended door baby bouncers/bouncing seats that helps to keep the baby in a proper and safe posture throughout the activity.

Swivel Outlet Covers
These covers pivot up or down as required to either permit or block access to the sockets.

This is a pad shaped like a triangle or the letter ‘T’ that is fits over a child’s belly and hips on a car seat. Attached to the shoulder harness, it buckles at the crotch.

Temperature Read Out
Some baby monitors have a thermometer in them to check the room temperature. This information may be either displayed on the baby unit only, or also sent to and displayed on the parent unit. (See Baby Unit and Parent Unit).

Tether Strap
A strap for securing the top of a child restraint to prevent it tipping forward.

Three-Point Harness System
A way of keeping a child in a car seat that has twin shoulder attachments and one at the crotch.

Tray Shield
On some car seats, this is a wide, curved pad that is pulled down around the child.

A child aged between one year and three years.

Disease caused by infection with toxoplasma gondii; may resemble a mild cold or infectious mononucleosis in adults; a disseminated form may lead to hepatitis, pneumonitis. An infected pregnant women can spread the disease to her unborn child, causing eye or brain damage or even death. Eating raw meat from infected animals is the most common way in which the disease is acquired.

Transport Canada
This is the federal body that is responsible for regulating child restraints and car seats in Canada.

Tubal Pregnancy (Ref.: Ectopic Pregnancy)
Implantation and development of the fertilized ovum in a uterine (fallopian) tube.

Turnaround Time
When a convertible car seat is used, this is the point in time when the baby is too heavy for the car seat to remain in the rear-facing position, and so, must be turned around to face forwards. This information should be supplied by the manufacturer.

Two Way Opening
Child safety gates that can swing open in both directions.

Ultrasound (also known as Echography, Sonographic technique, Ultrasonography)
Biophysical technique measuring the intermittent high-frequency sound waves not perceptible to the human ear. They can supply, by measuring the reflection of ultrasonic waves directed into the tissue, vital information about the status of the fetus, with no known risks from ultrasound.

Umbilical Cord
The structure connecting the placenta with the umbilicus (navel) of the fetus; it contains two arteries and one vein coiled around each other; in the newborn, it measures about 61.4 cm in length and 12.7 mm in diameter.

Umbilical cord abnormalities
Marginal insertion of the cord and especially velamentous insertions are susceptible to be accompanied by a growth-retarded fetus.

Unitary Surface Material
This is a cushioning material such as rubber matting that is placed underneath and round about equipment in a children’s playground.

The hollow, muscular organ of the female mammal situated in the pelvis between the bladder and the rectum; its function is the nourishment of the developing fetus prior to birth. Synonym: womb.

Varicose veins
The posture of the pregnant woman affects arterial blood pressure. From a clinical viewpoint, the retarded blood flow and increased lower extremity venous pressure are of great importance. These alterations contribute to the dependent edema frequently experienced by women as they approach term, and to the development of varicose veins in the legs and vulva, as well as hemorrhoids.

Vernix caseosa
A fatty or cheesy substance on the skin of a newborn.

Villus, villi
Microscopic hairs found on some mucous inside the uterine wall.

– Vitamin A (Retinol) ~ A fat-soluble vitamin, participating in a variety of biologic functions, including vision, reproduction, immune function and cellular growth.
– Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) ~ Vitamin B12 is supplied by animal protein food, including meat, fish, eggs and milk.
– Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) ~ Vitamin B6 is required for protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism as well as for erythrocyte, immune and hormonal functions.
– Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) ~ The transport of vitamin C across the placenta from mother to fetus is accomplished by an energy-dependent carrier-mediated process.
– Vitamin D (Chlolecalciferol) ~ The levels of the principal vitamin D metabolites are greater in maternal plasma than are those in fetal plasma. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin or ingested and is converted by the liver, kidneys and placenta; one of its active compound stimulates resorption of calcium from bone and absorption in the intestines.

Note about vitamins: Nutrients that may exert toxic effects include iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, B6, C and D. (for more details consult your physician)

Visual Sound Indicators
Usually LED (Light Emitting Diode) light displays on the parent unit that provides a gauge to how much noise the baby is making. A useful tool if the parent is hard of hearing, or for when other loud noise may render the crying baby unheard. Systems with this option are often called sound-and-light audio monitors.

Wall Mounted
These safety gates are fixed to the walls with screws and so prove to be a firmer barrier to unwanted infant exploration than the pressure mounted type.

Weather Boot
A fabric attachment on strollers to keep the baby’s legs and feet extra protection from the elements.

Window Locks
Various devices to keep an open window from being further opened by a curious or overly adventurous infant. They should be used as window screens cannot fully be relied upon to prevent a child from falling out.