Is my baby sleeping safely?

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How many times a day do you put your baby down to sleep?  

Your baby sleeps about 16-18 hours a day, so they sleep a lot! More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. die every year while sleeping, often due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) or accidental deaths from suffocation or strangulation.

So how can you make the safest sleep spot for your little one EVERY time you lay them down?

On their back for the first year

Put your baby back to sleep until their FIRST birthday.  If your baby can change positions while sleeping, that is ok.  May people think that once your baby rolls over you do not have to practice the safe sleep practices, but that is not true.  

In their own bed

  • Put your baby to sleep in their own crib or bassinet.  

    Do not bed share. Bed sharing is the most common cause of death in babies less than three months old.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your baby’s bassinet close to your bed or in the same room for the first year of your baby’s life, or at least the first six months. Only bring your baby into your bed for feeding our comfort.  If you start to get sleepy, place the baby back into their bassinet or crib.

  • What is a safe crib?

    Make sure to use a bassinet or crib that meets the current safety standards.  Do not use a crib with drop down rails or try to fix a crib that has broken or missing parts. You can visit the U.S Product Safety Commission to learn more about safety standards or product recalls.

  • Flat Surface

    Put your baby to sleep on a flat surface, like a crib mattress covered by a tightly fitted sheet. Use only the mattress made for your baby’s crib. Do not raise your baby’s mattress, use a wedge, or anything else to prop up your baby.  Keep your baby and the mattress flat.

  • Nothing in the bed

    This includes no bumper pads, toys, stuffed animals, loose bedding, or any other soft objects. They put your baby at danger for getting trapped, strangled, or suffocated. Position your baby’s crib or bassinet away from window cords or electrical wires.  Babies can get tangled in them and choke.

  • Sleep only in a bed

    Do not let your baby sleep in their car seats, swings, or strollers.  If your baby falls asleep in one of them, take them out and place in their bassinet or crib as soon as you can.

  • Don’t put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, or any other soft surface. Portable bed rails are also not safe. They do not always prevent a baby from rolling out of bed.  

How do I dress my baby for sleep?

Dress your baby is light clothing.  Remove any strings or ties from pajamas. A blanket sleeper (Halo Sleepsack) or swaddling your baby can help keep the baby warm,  but make sure not to cover their face. If your baby is sweating or feels hot, your baby may be dressed too much and be overheated.

Pacifier or no pacifier?

Give your baby a pacifier (if they will take it) for naps and bedtime.  Pacifier use may help protect against SIDS. If your baby is breastfeeding, wait until your baby has established a good latch and is feeding well.  Do not hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck. If your baby does not want to take a pacifier, that is ok. Do not force them.

Should my baby be on a home monitor for sleep?

Do not rely on home heart monitors or breathing monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.  If you have any questions about using the monitors, ask your Pediatrician.

SO REMEMBER:  Alone, Back, Crib, Do Not Smoke!  

Interested in learning more about safe sleep or any newborn care questions? Take our Infant care class in person or online! Need a visit from our registered nurses? We are happy to come to your home to assess and help ease your fears of the journey of parenthood!

For more information on safe sleep, go to www.safetosleep.nichd.hih.gov or www.aap.org.