Safe sleeping tips for infants
Most parents have heard a few things regarding putting their baby to bed and crib safety. Here in the United States, there have been a lot of public safety announcements (PSAs) regarding safe sleeping tips to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
SIDS is defined as the death of an infant less than one year of age, without an identifiable cause of death. Although the SIDS rates have dropped significantly in the U.S., thanks to PSAs, it still affects around 2,500 babies a year. SIDS is obviously devastating to a family; however, there are things you can do to help protect your little one.
- Always put the baby on their back to sleep! As a rule of thumb, nap time and bedtime are back time.
- Put the baby in a crib to sleep. Never sleep with the baby in the bed with you and your partner, on the couch or the floor. The absolute safest place to put your baby to sleep is in a bassinet or crib. Ensure your crib or bassinet has a nice, firm mattress. If you are concerned with having the baby close by (which many mothers do), feel free to pull the crib or the bassinet right up next to your bed. You will sleep more soundly if your little one is close, but do not put them at risk by putting them in your bed with you.
- Do not put stuffed animals, crib bumpers, toys, bottles, or extra blankets in the crib with the baby. Put your baby in the crib by themselves with one blanket if needed. If you choose to put a blanket in the crib, ensure that the blanket is tucked snugly into the side of the crib mattress and that it does not go past the baby's nipple line. Many parents purchase a sleep sack to put their baby in to sleep and is a wonderful alternative to a traditional blanket. These can be found at major retailers and at FigLeaf Boutique here at Community for around $15 to $20.
- Do not overheat your baby! As a rule of thumb, dress babies only slightly warmer than you would yourself, without needing extra cover.
- D not smoke around your baby! Babies who are exposed to smoke have a higher risk of SIDS than those who are not. Ensure that you, your partner and other caregivers never smoke around your baby. If you smoke or any other caregiver smoke, we encourage you quit for your health and the health of your baby.
- Breastfeed your baby whenever possible. Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for you and your baby, and has also been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS.
- Once breastfeeding is well established, offer your baby a pacifier. Pacifiers have shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. But once again, you should only offer a pacifier once you and your baby have been successfully breastfeeding for three to four weeks.
Make sure that your partner and other caregivers are on the same page regarding these safe sleeping tips. Although you might be aware of these tips, other caregivers may not.