You want to keep your baby as safe as possible, but it's not realistic to keep an eye on them at all hours of the day. When baby sleeps, mom needs to sleep as well. Working to make as safe a sleeping situation as possible will give you peace of mind and help both mom and baby sleep soundly at night.
For Baby Safety Month we've put together tips from experts on how to keep your little ones safe and healthy while they sleep.
Baby Safety Tip 1: Use a firm crib mattress
Unlike adult mattresses, you want to select a crib mattress that is very firm. Soft sleeping surfaces can create space for baby to roll and suffocate, increasing the risk of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It may seem like a firm mattress is uncomfortable, but that is not the case at all. Babies do not need the back support and contouring that adult bodies do.
Crib mattresses come in all price ranges with a variety of features. Since babies typically only use a crib for a couple of years, you may be able to save money by purchasing a foam mattress. Test the mattress before buying by pressing your hand to the center of the mattress. An indent should form but quickly go away upon removing your hand.
Baby Safety Tip 2: Choose Safe Sleepwear
Selecting the appropriate sleepwear for your baby can keep them safe and healthy. As babies start to roll and are no longer swaddled, selecting a safe and comfortable sleepwear solution will help everyone wake up well rested. The Zipadee-Zip from Sleeping Baby is our favorite safe sleepwear option! Specifically engineered to be soft and breathable, the Zipadee-Zip is perfect for babies with sensitive skin and keeps baby from overheating during the night.
The wide cut of the suit allows the legs and body to naturally fall while sleeping, preventing hip dysplasia that can cause long lasting health issues later in life. As baby grows and begins to move more, the Zipadee-Zip is designed specifically to allow your little one to push-up, roll over, and wiggle. The suit should be fitted with a slight resistance at the arm to allow for proper movement.
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Baby Safety Tip 3: Never use bumpers, bedding, or toys in the crib
In 2007, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that crib bumpers are unsafe. Bumpers create a suffocation hazard, either by allowing the baby to place their face against the bumper or become tangled in the cords.
Heavy bedding, blankets, and toys can pose similar hazards. Keep the nursery a comfortable temperature and dress baby in a breathable sleep suit, like the Zipadee-Zip, and baby will not overheat or become cold.
Baby Safety Tip 4: Place Baby To Sleep On Their Back
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing baby to sleep on their back as the safest sleeping position until 1 years old. Babies may appear to be more comfortable on their stomachs, but until they are old enough to roll over on their own, they may not be able to wake when in danger or lift their heads to prevent suffocation.
If you find that your baby likes to roll over onto his stomach while sleeping, it is best to reposition him onto his back, despite that doing so may briefly wake him. Creating a habit of back sleeping will help ensure that position is the most comfortable for baby as he continues to grow and learn.
Baby Safety Tip 5: Use a Pacifier When Sleeping
While some parents struggle with pacifier use during the toddler years, as the parent of a newborn or infant, a pacifier is your new best friend. Not only are pacifiers perfect for soothing a fussy baby, researchers have found that pacifier use can reduce the risk of SIDS by 90 percent.
If breastfeeding, it is best to wait until baby is 3 to 4 weeks old before introducing a pacifier. Some babies use a pacifier to fall asleep and will drop it after they are fully sleeping. If the pacifier falls out of the babies mouth, there is no reason to put it back in.
Looking for more safety tips? Check out our article on Baby Safety Month.