Safe Sleep Environment For Babies
There are many things you can do to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby. After the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep in 1992, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have decreased significantly. The AAP updated their guidelines in 20111 and below are some of their recommendations for reducing the risk of SIDS by creating a safe environment for your baby.
- Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Babies should sleep alone in a crib, bassinet or portable crib.
- Use a firm crib mattress specifically designed for the crib/bassinet and a tightly fitting sheet flush with the sides of the crib/bassinet. There should be no large gaps between the mattress and the side of the crib/bassinet.
- Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended for young babies. Babies should not share a bed with adults, children, other infants, or family pets.
- Loose bedding, such as blankets and sheets, might be hazardous and should not be used in the infant’s sleeping environment.
- The infant should sleep in an area free of hazards, such as dangling cords, electric wires, and window-covering cords, because they might present a strangulation risk.
- Remove any clothing with ties (eg, bibs) or hoods before putting a baby down to sleep.
- Do not use devices such as wedges or positioners that are marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Young babies can be offered a pacifier when being placed to sleep.
- Avoid overheating your baby. As a general rule, babies should be dressed in no more than one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable at a particular temperature.
- Overbundling and covering of the face and head should be avoided.
- Avoid any exposure to cigarette smoke.
- Try to ensure that your baby has tummy time every day (supervised and awake). This will help their development and minimize development of plagiocephaly (flat head).
1 SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. TASK FORCE ON SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME. Pediatrics; 2011 Nov; 128(5):1030-9.