Many things seem like common knowledge to parents, and it can be easy for the information to go “in one ear and out the other”. Each time I visit with my pediatrician for my kids she addresses safety procedures, and that includes safe sleep for my youngest. Many parents heed the warnings and follow safe sleep rules, but when you are a tired parent, it is tempting to bend the sleep safety rules to be able to get some needed rest. I always recommend following all sleep rules to keep your baby safe.
When it comes to sleep, where is the line between safety and comfort? Even with the focus on sleep safety for babies, some families and care providers still struggle with how to provide a safe sleep environment. Every year, (according to the CDC) 3,500 babies die unexpectedly, and most occur in unsafe sleep environments. Parents receive sleep tips and information from many places (including pediatricians, child care providers, family members, and friends), and it often conflicts between sources.
Follow these 3 simple steps you can take to help your baby sleep safely.
Just remember your ABCs:
A – Alone
Your baby should always sleep alone. This means that they should not sleep with anyone (parents or siblings), and stuffed animals or a lovey should not be in the crib before 12 months of age. Only use wearable sleep blankest to keep your baby covered during sleep. Keep loose blankets and bumpers out of the crib,
B – Back
Place your baby flat on their back to sleep, and refrain from using wedges and sleep positioning devices out of the crib. When your baby is laying flat and on their back, it makes breathing easier and can reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID. Don’t use other items for sleep – bouncy chairs, car seats (outside of the car), swings, and nursing pillows – as this can make breathing very difficult…even when being watched carefully by an adult.
C – Crib
Your baby should sleep in an approved crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper. If you prefer to keep your baby close, the best way to do so is to room share, NOT bed-share. For newborns and young babies, co-sleepers or bassinets provide convenience for nighttime feedings. With a separate sleep space for your baby, you reduce suffocation hazards that occur from having pillows or other hazards in the sleep space. For older babies, you can continue to room share, using a crib instead of a co-sleeper or bassinet.
Follow these simple steps to ensure your baby’s safety during sleep. One-fourth (25%) of infant deaths each year occur due to strangulation and suffocation hazards in their sleeping environment. Don’t let your baby become one of them. If you need tips or guidance on how to keep your baby safe while staying well rested, please ask for help from a friend, pediatrician, or other professional.