We never want to think about it, but it does happen. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), refers to the death of an infant younger than one year of age that cannot be explained. It’s hard enough to think about your child going through painful teething or being sick with a cold, let alone something as horrific as an unexplained death. Although there are many things in life we can’t control, as caregivers, we can learn what’s considered safe sleep for our children – this is in our control. According to several of the leading healthcare governing bodies, here are several of their collective safe sleep recommendations to help you feel calm and confident about your babies sleeping environment.
- The best sleep position for your baby is their back – both at bedtime and naptime. Placing the baby on their back reduces the risk of suffocation, especially considering a young baby does not have the strength to lift up or roll onto their back.
- The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet, and it is also recommended that the baby be in the same room as you for the first six months – room share as opposed to bed sharing.
- Objects that can cause injury when the baby moves around, or objects that can cause suffocation should be removed from the sleeping space. This includes: loose bedding, comforters, heavy blankets, quilts, pillows, padding, toys and sleep positioners.
- The crib/bassinet mattress should be firm in order to avoid the risk of the baby’s face becoming stuck and causing suffocation, which could happen if the mattress is too soft or worn down. A fitted sheet made specifically for a crib mattress should be used over the mattress.
- The room temperature should be comfortable for both you and the baby. Do not turn up the heat for the baby or over layer them thinking they will be more comfortable. Dress children in actual sleepwear when putting them to bed. It’s also a good idea to check for loose buttons or loose threads that could be a choking hazard or cause injury.
- Smoking should be completely avoided around the baby and even in the home – it’s that simple!
- It’s a good idea to ensure that cords, window handles, lamps, candles, electrical plugs, and small toys and objects are out of your child’s reach.
It’s scary enough to bring a new baby home and have all of our worst fears surface all at once, but reviewing safe sleep recommendations is something that’s in our control, and also something we can think about and prepare for before we even bring the baby home. Let’s start with safety first and have the peace of mind that we’ve done everything we can to keep the baby’s sleeping space safe.
Feel free to contact me for more resources, links and brochures on safe sleep.
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant, Founder of Gentle Dreams
Disclaimer: The information/advice provided in any form of communication by Gentle Dreams is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice is for informational purposes only and is intended for use with common sleep issues that are unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the health and welfare of your child.