There are many factors to consider when putting babies to sleep, from the position they should sleep in, to maintaining the right temperature for their comfort.
Nap time is a time that busy parents look forward to. This is when they can take a breath and have a few moments to themselves, or catch up on other things that need to be done around the house. But as some parents have found out, there are definitely dangers to be aware of, when putting your little one to bed.
Babies under twelve months, and especially during their first five months, are at risk of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) which can result from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation or unknown causes.
In 2015, there were 3,700 cases of SUID in the United States. About 1,600 or nearly half of these deaths were due to SIDS and another 900 were due to accidental suffocation. These numbers are much lower than a few decades ago, largely due to education programs run by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), like the Back to Sleep campaign in 1994, that taught parents the importance of babies sleeping on their back.
So what steps can you take to keep your baby safe while sleeping?
Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs
AAP’s teaching parents about putting babies to sleep on their backs was one of the biggest reasons for the significant decline in SUIDs and has become common practice these days. That said, don’t panic if your baby is prone to rolling over onto his tummy while he sleeps. Some babies can comfortably roll from their tummy back onto their back from a fairly young age.
Babies need to sleep on a firm surface
Choose a crib mattress that is firm and fits, so there is no gap between the mattress and crib. As a general rule, the mattress should be firm enough to not indent significantly when your baby is sleeping on it.
This also means avoiding things like sofas, slings and any other soft surfaces. Of course, your baby may fall asleep in one of these places, just be sure to quickly move him to the crib.
Cribs should be cleared of pillows and soft toys
Like all parents, you’ve probably both purchased and received an array of adorable soft toys and blankets for your newborn baby. While these are cute playthings for your baby while he is awake, anything soft in the crib is potentially hazardous while he is sleeping.
For parents in places cooler than Singapore, and worried about their baby being cold at night, pick up some infant sleep clothing. These thicker layers will be perfect to keep him warm at night without the risk of pulling the blanket over his face or getting entangled in it.
Additionally, be wary of products that are marketed as reducing the risk of SIDS. According to the AAP, many of these products lack conclusive evidence to support their claims.
Have your baby use a pacifier during nap times and at night
If possible, give your baby a pacifier when you are putting him to bed. A study published by the British Medical Journal found that using a pacifier significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.
Avoid having your baby sleep in your bed
The temptation to have your baby sleep in your bed with you is understandably high. Between wanting to comfort him and the late-night feedings, it certainly seems like a convenient option. However, bed-sharing is very dangerous, especially for babies under three months old.
Instead, keep your baby’s crib in the same room as you for the first six months, so that you can easily reach over to him when he cries during the night, or for nighttime feedings. According to the AAP, having your baby’s crib in the same room as you at night significantly reduces instances of SUID.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!