Putting your infant to sleep can be a challenge – some seem to do better when co-sleeping, while others are only soothed by the sound of the vacuum cleaner. When it comes to your little one’s crib, however, there are several hard and fast rules you need to follow to keep your infant safe.
As you prepare to bring home your new baby, here are 4 key things you should know about sleep safety. Following these rules could save your infant’s life.
It’s not uncommon for families to pass down a crib from one child to the next, but before you set up and old crib for your new baby, make sure that it meets all current safety standards. For example, drop side cribs, once extremely common, are now banned in the United States. They can contribute to injury or death and shouldn’t be used or re-sold.
Another common problem among old cribs is that the bars are too widely spaced. Infants can get their heads stuck between the bars if the spacing is too great. If you can pass a soda can between the bars, then they’re too far apart.
Separate Sleep Spaces
While it’s fine to let your infant sleep in your room, it’s important that you not put them to sleep in the bed with you. Instead, your child should sleep in a separate bassinet or crib. If you put your child in the bed with you, there is a high risk that they may be suffocated when you or a partner roll over or due to the pillows and blankets in your bed. Suffocation is one of the most common causes of death among infants, so it’s important to do everything you can to prevent it.
Choosing A Mattress
Many adults prefer to sleep on a memory foam mattress, but that doesn’t mean they’re a good choice for infants or toddlers. That’s because they may suffocate if they roll over and put their faces into the memory foam. Instead, infants and toddlers should sleep on firm mattresses without blankets, pillows, or crib padding. The fewer things in your infant’s crib, the better for their safety.
Back To Back
The Back To Sleep campaign launched by health organizations over the last few years has dramatically reduced the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This campaign focuses on teaching parents to always put infants to sleep on their backs. Even if your child seems to sleep better on their stomach, safety dictates that you always place them on their backs. Once they learn to roll over, they may change positions, but starting them out on their backs is key.
Though SIDS is still a leading cause of death among infants, following these simple rules has dramatically reduced the frequency of this mysterious and devastating syndrome. By consistently putting your child to sleep in an environment optimized for safety, you provide the security that your infant relies on you for.