Babies usually sleep a lot. In fact, when babies are below one-year-old, all they do is sleep and eat. That is why you should always ensure that you put your baby to sleep in the correct way. Research shows that the death of infants as a result of sleep related issues is the leading cause of Sudden Infant Deaths Syndrome (SIDS).
SIDS death is usually common in infants below 12 months. To ensure that most babies live to celebrate their first birthdays, mothers should be aware of the sleep safety for infants.
Things you can do to make sure that your baby sleeps safely
Below are the safety tips that you should adhere to so that your baby sleeps safely:
- If you are using cribs, the crib mattress should be flat and firm. The mattress should fit the crib perfectly without leaving any spaces between the frame and the crib. The sheet used for the crib should tightly cover the mattress without any part of it left to hang loosely.
- When putting your baby to sleep, she should be on her back. The bassinets and cribs should also meet the safety standards. Broken bassinets and cribs with drop side rails should not be used.
- Toys, loose beddings, crib bumpers and pillows should not be used inside the crib. This is because they might suffocate or strangle your baby while she is asleep.
- Never let your baby sleep in a car seat, carrier or sling. If she falls asleep in one of them, you should take her out and put her to sleep in her bassinet or crib. Usually, when babies are in one of these items, their backs are not usually straight hence if they fall asleep and stay for a long time in them, they might not be able to breathe properly which may lead to them suffocating while they are sleeping.
- Dress the baby in light clothes so that she doesn’t get too hot while sleeping. Things you need to look out for to let you know that she is hot include; damp hair, sweating, rapid breathing and heat rash. You can also swaddle the baby to make her feel comfortable and warm.
- You can also use pacifiers for bed time. The pacifier should be free of chords that may strangle the baby.
- Avoid covering your baby’s face or head while she is sleeping to avoid suffocation.
- Lastly, don’t even think about letting your baby sleep on a sofa or a waterbed. Soft mattresses should also be avoided.
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Other infant sleep safety measures to take
- Avoid using products like wedges and positioners that claim to reduce sleep-related causes of infant deaths. The truth is that it has not been proven scientifically whether their claim is true.
- Some parents are usually too concerned that they go to the extent of using home heart and breathing monitors to monitor the heartbeat and breathing rates of their babies while they are sleeping. Do not go to that extent unless your baby has a serious medical condition of which you must consult your healthcare provider.
- Ensure that your baby sleeps in the same room as you. This will enable you to watch her closely and attend to her in the case of anything. Research shows that room sharing with your baby reduces the risk of SIDS by half. However, avoid sharing your bed with your baby especially if she is below 12 months.
- Do not smoke in the room where your baby sleeps.
When buying your baby her crib, you should ensure that you buy the right crib that meets all the safety standards. Here are the things you should keep in mind.
- Whip out your ruler when you are out there shopping to make sure that the crib’s slats and corner posts are not more than 7cm apart. This is because your baby may get entrapped between if the spacing is larger.
- The hardware of a safe crib should be firmly secured. There should be no loose bolts and screws. There should be no sharp edges or rough areas that can cut your baby.
- When it comes to the color of the crib, watch out for lead-based paints which pose health risks to babies and young children.
- Stay away from crib models that have footboards and headboards since the CPSC prohibits them.
By and large, babies are so cute yet fragile hence without proper care from us as mothers; they cannot survive. It is up to us as parents to always make sure that our babies sleep in a safe environment.
Since babies usually sleep for up to 16 hours in a day, if they are not put to sleep in an environment that meets all the sleep safety for infants, they will be at higher risks of forming part of the figures released by the AAP every year of babies who die as a result of sleep related issues. Approximately 3000 babies die every year in the United States alone, and the figure could be higher in other parts of the world.