Newborn Safety

Giving Parents a Voice 

Currently, there are no safety regulations in place for the Newborn Photography industry.  Anyone who owns a camera can begin photographing newborns with no training and no knowledge of the unique needs of infants.


APNPI values and puts newborn safety at the forefront of our profession. For this reason, we are providing you with resources to help you select a safe photographer and help you identify elements of risk throughout your session.  Click below to access these resources.

















During Your Newborn Session


Safe Posing with Composite Images

All newborn photographers are encouraged to make use of safe practices when posing babies in risky positions.  The following are examples of composite imagery that demonstrate skills you can expect your photographer to use with your baby.


The Potato Sack Pose

The illustration below shows a number of further safety issues that your Safety Certified newborn photographer will be educated in.  It’s also a great indicator of why an inexperienced photographer may not be a safe choice for your baby.

The Froggy Pose

This popular pose is known as the “froggy pose” and should always be created as a composite of two images, in order to ensure that

baby’s head is supported at all times.  Parents can help if the photographer does not have an assistant.




Suspended Baby

Any images that show a baby being suspended in a sling or other prop such as this one, are always done on the floor or a bean bag, and again, created as a composite image.  The babies are never lifted up, but remain safely on the surface at all times.


Sibling Safety

Toddlers can be unpredictable in a session, and are often feeling out of sorts with all the new family adjustments.  Composite images will not only ensure safety for baby, but will also allow a less stressful experience for the toddler, who will now be able to enjoy her time in the spotlight without the multiple constraints that would be needed with a real baby.



Safety Checklist

These are some items to keep in mind at your session.

Again, never hesitate to speak up if you feel uncomfortable with something your photographer is doing with your baby.  Whether it’s a safety concern or simply something you personally are uneasy with, either way, you are the one who’s voice is most important.

  • Room temperature – most photographers will heat the room so that baby is not cold.
    • Watch for signs of overheating – sweaty neckline, mottled skin, redness in the face, irritability.
  • Air quality:
    • Props/blankets look and smell clean.  Musty and mildewy smells could indicate the presence of mold growing in a damp, warm studio.  If you are concerned about your baby breathing in mold toxins, don’t hesitate to choose to leave with your baby.
    • Essential oils are trendy right now, but can cause allergic reactions and sensitivities.  Don’t hesitate to ask your photographer to remove the use of oils if you are uncomfortable with them.
    • Other environmental allergens such as dust, pets, foods, etc.
  • Tripping hazards
    • Cords are taped down, rug grippers are used with flokati and floor boards. Props are put away.  Waste and spills should be cleaned immediately, without delay.
  • Antiques and props
    • watch for splinters and nails
    • Props are weighted properly.
    • Newborns should never be positioned in or on glass containers or objects that can break or shatter.
  • Posing surfaces should be an adequate size to prevent accidents
    • biomechanical supports should be in place to lessen the chance of ergonomic injuries
    • wooden backgrounds should be secured to avoid tipping and falls.
    • Sandbags are used to weight props and light stands.
  • Your newborn is supported by human hands at ALL TIMES throughout risky poses.  (see images below).
    • This ensures that babies will not be at risk of falls, central cyanosis or positional asphyxiation – three very dangerous scenarios that can result in very seriously injury or even death.
  • In the absence of an assistant, parents, especially mothers, should never be asked to stay further away from babe as is sometimes requested due to the idea that the smell of mother’s milk will cause the baby to become unsettled. Should the baby show signs of hunger such as the rooting that can occur when they sense and smell their mother, they should be given appropriate time to feed. A satisfied baby will not be unsettled due to the smell of milk and it is better to have an extra set of hands close by than not.
  • Your photographer, assistant or other people present are not ill.
    • Where and when illness may delay your session beyond an appropriate timeline of around 1-2 weeks, a good photographer should either have an assistant photographer on hand to complete your session or provide referrals to other respected photographers working in a similar style. For posed newborn work, your session is time sensitive and should be completed sometime within the first two to three weeks of life. Unposed, documentary or lifestyle sessions can be completed in longer timelines and rescheduling should be easier with these types of sessions
  • Your photographer does not touch, move, or attempt to remove any medical items such as belly button clamps, circumcision gauze, etc.
  • Your baby is not showing signs of central cyanosis – the bluish discoloration around the core, lips and tongue.  This can be quite a dangerous. According to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre, central cyanosis is never normal in the newborn period, and is almost always linked to a lower amount of oxygen in the blood. For this reason, the photographer should be concerned regarding the cause of deoxygenation whenever central cyanosis is present.
  • Your photographer has hand sanitizer available.
  • Adequate seating and changing areas are available and suitable for new moms and those recovering from C-sections.
  • Easy access to drinking water.
  • Your photographer is insured in order to protect you in the event of accidents.


Having images taken of your newborn is a memory you’ll treasure forever.  Enjoy your experience, and always have the confidence to speak up if you have any doubts at all.