How to Help Your Baby Sleep Safely: 12 Tips for New Parents

According to ODH.gov, every week in Ohio, three babies die in unsafe sleep environments. That’s just one state in one week; imagine when you multiply by each week and each state. The numbers are scary and more so, the deaths are avoidable.

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Do you know the basics of how to help your baby sleep safely?

Do you know the basics of how to help your baby sleep safely? Remember your ABCs. Alone. Back. Crib. Every nap, every sleep, every day. What other steps can you take to ensure your child will sleep safely?

12 Safe Sleep Tips for New Parents:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations are based on science and extensive research. Follow these guidelines to keep your baby safe:

  1. Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  2. Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  3. The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  4. Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  5. Don’t use wedges and sleep positioners.
  6. Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  7. Breastfeeding is recommended.
  8. Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  9. Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  10. Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  11. Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  12. Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

The National Institutes of Health addresses some of the more common questions parents ask based on beliefs from a generation or two ago; those theories have changed as research has become evident. For example, it was once thought placing a child in a crib would cause “crib death” or SIDS. In actuality, cribs themselves do not cause SIDS. But, features of the sleep environment—such as a soft sleep surface—can increase the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. And that babies who sleep on their backs will choke if they spit up or vomit during sleep.

The reality is, babies automatically cough up or swallow fluid that they spit up or vomit—it’s a reflex to keep the airway clear. Studies show no increase in the number of deaths from choking among babies who sleep on their backs. In fact, babies who sleep on their backs might clear these fluids better because of the way the body is built.

Finally, many believe SIDS can be prevented, when in reality, there is no known way to prevent SIDS, but there are effective ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.

While we don’t know the exact cause of SIDS, we do know that some things can increase a baby’s risk for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. By providing a safer sleeping environment for your baby, you reduce the odds of the unimaginable happening.

Have you heard different stories about how to help baby sleep safely? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you and possibly share your story in an upcoming blog.

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