Have you ever heard…”We covered our baby with a loose blanket and he is fine.” Or “We co-slept with our child and she has a baby of her own now.”
As parents, we all want to make our babies comfortable but keep them safe. When it comes to sleep, where is the line drawn between safety and comfort? Despite the push in sleep safety, there are still many families and child care providers who are not sure what sleeping safely looks like. Every year, (according to the CDC) 3,500 babies die unexpectedly, and most occur in unsafe sleep environments. Parents often receive information from pediatricians, child care providers, family members, and friends, but it often conflicts.
There are 3 simple steps you can take to help your baby sleep safely. Follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
A – Alone
Your baby should always sleep alone. This means that they should not share a sleeping space with parents or siblings, and should not have any stuffed animals or loveys before 12 months of age. Keep loose blankets and bumpers out of the crib, as well as pacifier clips which can all become suffocation hazards. If you need to cover your child to ensure warmth, use a wearable sleep blanket.
B – Back
Place your baby flat on their back to sleep. Doing so makes it easier for your child to breathe and reduces the risk of SIDS/SUID. Refrain from using other items for sleep - bouncy chairs, car seats (outside of the car), swings, and nursing pillows – as this can restrict your baby’s airway and cause breathing difficulties…even under careful watch of an adult.
C – Crib
Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper. For parents who want to keep their baby close, you can do so by room sharing, NOT bed-sharing. For newborns and young babies, co-sleepers or bassinets next to your bed make it easier to get up for nighttime feedings and check on your baby when you wake at night. Having a separate sleep space keeps your baby safe by reducing the chance that your baby can suffocate on pillows or be accidentally rolled on top of when others are sleeping. 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.
Keep your child’s room between 68-72 degrees to ensure comfort and help promote a good night of sleep for your child.
Written by Julia Walsh, Certified Child Sleep Consultant
Julia Walsh is a mother of two, and a Certified Sleep Consultant with Good Night Sleep Site North Carolina. She has taught preschool for 8 years, and has a degree in Child Development. When she’s not playing with Legos and dolls or baking yummy treats with her children, she helps families overcome their sleep challenges. You can contact Julia at www.goodnightsleepsite.com/northcarolina or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Julia on Facebook (Good Night Sleep Site North Carolina) and Twitter (@GoodNightNC) for daily sleep tips and advice.
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