According to statistics, more than 3500 babies in the U.S die suddenly and unexpectedly while sleeping due to accidental deaths from strangulation or suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The sad truth is that most of these deaths can be avoided only if parents follow proper safety measures to protect their babies during sleep.
Ensuring that your little one is sleeping safe and sound can also help you sleep well too. Here are some tips based on scientific evidence that you should strictly follow to help your baby sleep safely not just for one night, but for all sleep periods.
Sleep Safety Tips For Your Baby
1) Baby Should Sleep On A Firm Mattress
Various studies have found that babies who sleep on soft surfaces such as couches are at a higher risk of dying from SIDS or other sleep-related infant deaths.
The surface should not indent when the baby is lying on it. A firm mattress is therefore considered as the safest place for your baby to sleep on.
2) Baby Should Sleep On His Back All The Time
Let no one convince you that laying your baby on the sides is safer compared to laying on the back. He won't choke while sleeping on his back. The baby's airway anatomy and gag reflex are designed to prevent this from happening.
According to studies, babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die from SIDS or other sleep-related infant deaths.
Sleeping on the side can cause the baby to roll over which can lead to suffocation. So until he turns one, make sure he sleeps on his back during all sleeping periods.
3) Keep Out Any Objects That Could Increase The Risk Of Suffocation, Strangulation And Entrapment
Nothing else should be in the baby crib except the baby.
So avoid keeping loose bedding and soft objects including toys, pillows, quilts, comforters, and bumper pads as they could cause suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation.
In case the temperature goes down, you can use a wearable blanket to keep the baby warm.
4) Avoid Sharing Your Bed With The Baby
As a general rule, never share your bed with your baby.
Of course, it can be tempting to cuddle and bond with your little one, but it could be dangerous for so many reasons.
For example, the blanket could go over his face or you could roll onto the baby. Things can even get worse if you are a heavy sleeper.
Certain situations can make bed sharing even more dangerous. For example, you should avoid sharing your bed if your baby is a preemie, he is less than four months, or if you or your partner is a smoker/alcoholic.
5) Avoid Placing Your Baby On Sofa, Armchair Or Couch
Your baby should only sleep in his crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper, not the sofa, couch, swing, carrier, or armchair. Avoid using these as everyday sleeping areas.
This is because they are extremely dangerous for your baby as he could fall over. Furthermore, they are not the most comfortable sleeping surfaces for the baby.
6) Give A Pacifier During Bed And Nap Time
Some studies indicate that pacifiers greatly reduce the risk of SIDS. It may fall off after the baby falls asleep but that shouldn't bother you. You can offer a pacifier much sooner if your baby isn't breastfeeding.
7) Dress The Baby In One Piece Of Clothing
Avoid stuffing too much clothing on the baby during sleep time. He could end up becoming overheated. Only dress him in a one-piece sleeper. For extra warmth and comfort, you can wrap him in a swaddle.
8) Reset Room Temperature For Added Comfort
Your baby may not sleep properly if the room he is sleeping in is too cold or too hot. It's therefore advisable to install a thermostat to ensure that the room temperature is safe and comfortable.
9) Monitor The Baby
You can choose one so you can constantly check your baby to ensure he is sleeping safely. You can as well place the baby crib or bassinet in your room as it can even give you peace of mind.
Creating a safe sleeping environment will give you peace of mind knowing that even when you're deep asleep, your baby is safe.
So before you start rocking him to sleep, be sure to follow these important sleep safety tips for your baby.