In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’re sharing the ultimate guide to a safer sleep environment so that you are equipped and empowered with the information you need to make the best choices for your child.
- Always place your baby on his/her back to sleep.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should be placed on their backs for every sleep, including nap times. It’s important to follow the ABC’s of safe sleep: placing baby Alone, on their Back, in their Crib (or other safe sleeping place). If your child falls asleep in a swing, car seat, stroller, etc. they should be moved to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible. Remember, every sleep counts.
*Note: There are a very small number of babies who may have certain medical conditions and may need to sleep on their stomachs. In these rare instances, please consult with your child’s pediatrician, as she’ll know what’s best.
- Place your baby to sleep on a firm surface.
All cribs, bassinets, portable cribs and/or play yards should meet current safety standards. Check to make sure that there are no product recalls, and that there are no broken or missing pieces. Drop rail cribs should not be used. Use a firm mattress that is compatible with the product you are using, and cover it in a tight-fitting fitted sheet. For more information about crib safety standards, please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website.
- Keep loose objects out of the crib.
Loose objects such as stuffed animals, toys, loose bedding, blankets, pillows and bumper pads can all increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, overheating or strangulation. Though stuffed toys and soft blankets may be cute to look at, just remember: Bare is Best!
- Share your room, but not your bed.
Room sharing (keeping your baby’s sleep area separate from your sleep area in the same room) is recommended by the AAP as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. It is recommended to share a bedroom preferably until Baby turns 1, but at least for the first six months. Babies should not be placed on adult mattresses to sleep. If you bring your baby into your bed to feed them, make sure they’re put back into their separate sleeping area when you are finished.
- Don’t let your baby get too hot.
Keep the room temperature where your baby sleeps at a comfortable level. Don’t overdress your baby. A good rule of thumb to follow is to put on one extra layer of clothing than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Do not cover your baby’s head. Use a sleep sack or one-piece sleeper if you’re worried your baby is too cold.
- Keep your baby away from smokers and places where people smoke.
While this tip may seem obvious, it’s an important reminder, nonetheless. If you do smoke, try to quit. Until you can, keep your car and home smoke-free. Don’t smoke anywhere near your child, even if you are outside, or expose your child to people or places where there will be smoking.
- Breastfeed, if possible.
While breastfeeding might not be an option for everyone, it has been proven to help reduce the risk of SIDS. This has been shown in babies who are breastfed or bottle-fed with breast milk for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding also has many other health benefits for babies and mothers, which you can read about here.
- Tummy time is important!
Giving your baby tummy time is a great way to socialize with your newborn and encourage lots of eye contact. It also helps strengthen neck muscles and avoid flat spots on the back of the head. Make sure you always stay next to your baby and make sure they are awake.
We hope these tips have helped! If you ever have any questions or concerns, please consult with your pediatrician. You can also watch this video about crib safety, which was produced by the AAP and the CPSC.
How do you make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe sleep environment?