There is nothing more precious than holding a newborn infant in your arms. That’s why there’s nothing more important than putting your child to sleep in a way that keeps him or her safe from harm.
Newborn babies require considerable sleep – as much as 16 hours a day, usually in three- to four-hour periods between feedings. This means that the need to put your baby safely to sleep every time. The good news is that medical research has made clear which steps to take and which to avoid.
How Do I Keep My Baby Safe When Sleeping?
Here are some things to keep in mind while providing a safe-sleeping environment for your infant:
- The ABCD’s of Safe Sleep: Alone, no toys, no other person, Back, baby is always to go to sleep on their back, Crib, safety approved crib or bassinet, Danger, if parents are extremely exhausted, or have taken pain medicine or anything that keeps parent from making excellent decision.
- Back is best: A child should always be placed on his or her back to sleep. The risk of SIDS is greatly reduced when compared to babies sleeping on their sides or stomachs.
- Firm and flat: Make sure your infant’s sleeping surface is firm and flat, with a properly fitted sheet. Sofas, armchairs, hammocks, waterbeds, car seats, strollers, and other similar items are inappropriate for sleeping babies.
- Co-sleeping: Every child should have his or her own crib or bassinet in which to sleep. Do not bed-share with an infant.
- Room-share: It’s a good idea to place the baby’s crib or bassinet in your bedroom.
- Less Is More: Remove any loose-fitting or soft objects from your infant’s sleep surface. This includes blankets, toys, crib bumpers, and positioners. Any of these objects can increase the risk of suffocation or strangulation.
- No hanging around: Make certain that no electrical wires, pull ropes, window cords, or other hanging objects are within reach of your baby.
- Room temperature: Watch room temperature closely. Don’t let your baby get too hot or too cold (remember, no blankets). Use sleep sacs or sleepers for baby’s comfort.
- No strings attached: It’s okay to provide your baby with a pacifier, but make sure that it’s free of any strings or other attachments that might result in choking.
Swaddling is also safe if the child is sleeping on his or her back.
What Are Some Other Steps That I Can Take?
There are several other steps that a parent or parents can take to reduce the possibility of SIDS and guard the health of the baby:
- Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow others to smoke around your child after he or she is delivered.
- Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.
- Don’t drink alcohol and then bed share with your infant. You may fall asleep with your child still in bed, which is unsafe for him or her.
- Research has shown that the risk of SIDS is lessened by breastfeeding.
- Well-child visits are critical. Immunized and looked-after children are healthier children.
Don’t Get Caught Napping on SIDS
Public awareness and health education have helped reduce the incidence of SIDS since the late 1990s. Though today the number of annual sleep-related infant deaths is relatively small, each one can be emotionally devastating. Take time to learn safe-sleeping habits for your baby. Your child will sleep better and so will you.