In honor of Safe Sleep Awareness Month, we are reminding all new parents about the importance of healthy sleeping patterns for their newborns. A safe sleep environment can lower the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related complications. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the sudden, unexplainable death of a baby younger than 1 year of age. If you are a new parent or need a reminder, follow the simple acronym below to foster a safe sleep environment for your child:
A is for ALONE: Babies should be sleeping alone without the use of pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, toys, or other soft objects. If your baby needs help sleeping, studies show the positive effect pacifiers have in relation to the prevention of SIDS. The pacifier can be used as a resource in aiding your child to sleep, without the risk of suffocation, even if the pacifier ends up falling out of their mouth. However, make sure the pacifier is not attached to any clothing, stuffed toys, or other objects.
B is for BACK: Placing infants in a supine (horizontal) position is a proven way to reduce SIDS. The anatomy and gag reflex of babies are designed to prevent them from choking while laying on their backs. In comparison, babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs increase the risk of developing SIDS. Research additionally shows that placing your baby on their backs also prevents against fevers, stuffy noses, and ear infections.
C is for CRIB: Make sure your infant is placed in a safety-approved crib or bassinet. Cribs should only have a firm, flat mattress covered with a single, fitted sheet. Sleeping on soft surfaces increases the risk of SIDS, making it one of the leading causes of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. You can dress your baby in a wearable blanket, allowing them to remain warm yet safe from loose fabric during colder months. Keeping your baby’s crib or bassinet in the same room where you sleep for their first year of life is a wonderful way to be with your child without exposing them to potential danger. Sharing a room with your infant rather than a bed decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
In addition to keeping your baby alone, on their back, and inside a crib, it is also important to practice safe hygiene practices around your child. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your baby as secondhand smoke poses a dangerous risk to their wellbeing.
Being a new parent can be an exciting and overwhelming time for many. With so much information, it is easy to forget some of the details. Using the A, B, C’s of safe sleeping for infants is a creative way to remember the risk factors that come along with infants sleeping. Keeping your baby alone, on their backs, and inside a crib are the best practices in combating SIDS and supporting a healthy and safe sleeping environment for you and your baby.