When is it safe for a term infant to go above 8000 feet

DWQA QuestionsCategory: QuestionsWhen is it safe for a term infant to go above 8000 feet
Daniel asked 3 weeks ago

My son will be 7 weeks when we plan to go to Breckenridge for the weekend. Term birth no complications in the antepartum and postpartum period. He was born in Colorado Springs which is already at 6000 feet. I was researching online and most posts say not to go to high altitude before 3 months but the transcript from your podcast reported not before 6 weeks. What would you recommend in our case coming from Colorado Springs? What about if we were coming from sea level?  Thank you

1 Answers
Dr. Chris Staff answered 3 weeks ago

There are no controlled studies, but in my 21 years above 9000 ft I have not seen a normal baby develop problems after 2 weeks. Coming from Denver or the Springs would make it even less likely for an infant to have reactive pulmonary arteries with exposure to hypoxia. 
The risk is slightly increased, at all ages, when there is an acute respiratory infection such as a cold or influenza. Rarely the stress of altitude will uncover an undiagnosed cardiac shunt such as a patent ductus or septal defect. Symptoms of distress at altitude may include poor feeding, fussiness and if severe, increased respiratory effort or poor color
We are currently developing a study to compare the commercially available infant monitor called the “Owlet” to a hospital grade monitor to asses the reliability for parents who wish to use it at altitude. Some families feel the need to measure their newborn’s oxygen at home but this also adds to everyone’s anxiety due to many false alarms so is not generally recommended.

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