4 Tips for Safer Infant Sleep
Parents worry about their children's safety day and night. When it comes to babies, that fear doesn't stop at bedtime. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a scary thing. Just the thought of it can make any parent or caregiver nervous. However, if you know and understand proper sleep practices for infants, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of sleep-related accidents happening to your little one. At Child Safety Store, we want to do everything we can to help prevent tragedies like these from happening to you.
Luckily, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some specific guidelines for you to follow that will help to ensure your baby’s safety. These tips are important to take note of because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many parents never learn about proper sleep safety.
If that is the case, it’s time to take some notes!
4 Safe Infant Sleep Practices
There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies in the United States each year. The cause of these deaths includes SIDS, accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes. While these numbers have declined since the 1990s, progress has stalled in recent years. So let’s take a look at some steps, formally recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), that will help to ensure that your child gets a good night’s sleep with no potential for harm.
- Always place your baby to sleep on their back. Since 22% of mothers reported not placing babies on their back, this is a very real risk. Placing babies on their side means that they may roll over, increasing the chance for suffocation. Side-sleeping may also mean a reduced flow of oxygen.
- Use a firm sleep surface. This seems counterintuitive to most adults. Our instinct may be to get a soft, cushy mattress that won’t be too harsh on our baby’s back. However, keep in mind that what may seem more comfortable for us is not safe for the baby. Make sure your crib mattress is safety-approved and covered by a fitted sheet. Soft or memory foam surfaces have a tendency to form to our bodies, leaving an indentation in which the baby can suffocate should they roll over.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the baby’s sleep area. A report from the CDC found that 38% of mothers reported using soft bedding. It is important to remember that your child’s sleeping environment, whether it is a crib or bassinet, is not the place for their favorite stuffed animal or “blankie.” The sleep surface should be completely bare. No padding, pillows, toys or blankets should be near the baby when they sleep.
- Share a room, but not a bed. Even though 61% of mothers reported some form of bed-sharing with their babies, this is a recipe for an unsafe environment. Ideally, babies will sleep in their parents’ room for the first 6-months-to-a-year. However they will have their own sleep surface, such as a bassinet or portable crib. Sharing a bed increases the likelihood of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment. Sleeping on a couch or armchair is also strongly advised against.
A 2017 study found that nearly half of the surveyed caregivers did not receive correct advice on safe sleep practices from their healthcare providers. When there are thousands of sleep-related deaths among babies each year, you can never be too safe. The sleep practices above will help to reduce risk and ensure that your baby is out of harm’s way.