29 Jun Make Sure Your Baby Is Sleeping Safely
Few things in life are more precious than seeing your bundle of joy sleeping peacefully. We want to make sure those moments are as safe as they are precious. Unfortunately, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or “crib death,” is still something we need to think about and actively protect against.
Here’s how you can reduce the risk of SIDS and keep your baby snoozing safely. (Note that these recommendations are for babies younger than one year old. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician!)
Sleeping on Their Back
For at least the first year of life, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends having your baby sleep on their back. Sleeping on their back is the safest position for an infant, especially during the first six months (that’s when the risk of SIDS is highest). If they are asleep in a stroller, an infant car seat, or a swing, move them to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible.
Some babies will roll themselves onto their tummies, but if your baby can roll both ways (back-to-tummy and tummy-to-back), then don’t worry about putting them on their back if they roll over on their own. Just make sure there aren’t any stuffed animals or blankets in the way (more on that below).
Keep the Fluff Outside of the Crib
It’s tempting to put your baby’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket in the crib with them. Blankets and stuffed animals and pillows are great, but they need to stay outside of the crib. Putting those things in the crib endangers your baby because they could potentially block their airway. That goes for everything from toys to bumper pads and blankets. If you’re worried about your child being cold, consider getting a wearable blanket or something similar. Swaddling is perfectly fine as long as your baby is sleeping on their back and not trying to roll over. A good rule of thumb is that your child should be in one more layer than what you’re wearing.
Just remember, nothing should be in the crib except for your child.
Finally, smoke is not healthy. We all know that cigarette smoking and vaping is not healthy for adults, but it is especially dangerous for infants who are exposed to the same toxins. Infants who live with a smoker or who are cared for by a smoker are at an increased risk for SIDS. If you are a smoker, please try to quit and talk to your doctor about ways to help you to stop smoking. Until you can quit, don’t smoke in the car, at home, or anywhere near the baby.
There are no devices, positioners, gadgets, electronic devices, or special sleep surfaces that help to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have anything other than a firm infant mattress for your infant to sleep on, talk to your pediatrician about whether it is safe for your baby.
Pacifiers actually help reduce the risk of SIDS when used while sleeping at night and napping, even if they fall out of your baby’s mouth once they fall asleep. However, do not use a pacifier that attaches to clothing or objects, as these can be a suffocation or choking risk.
Some babies like pacifiers while others don’t, and some babies only like pacifiers some of the time. Whatever your baby’s preference is, it’s okay. If you’re nursing, make sure that breastfeeding is going smoothly (usually at least 3–4 weeks) before introducing pacifiers to your baby. Breastfeeding itself also helps to reduce the risk for SIDS.
For more information on the web, visit healthychildren.org or this article about sleeping on the back. If you have questions or would like to discuss any concerns you have regarding your baby, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at continuumtx.com.