Creating a Safe Sleeping Environment One issue almost every new parent is concerned about is SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Itís a worrying issue to think about, but itís an unfortunate reality which has devastated many families.
Now, this doesnít mean that you have to spend endless sleepless nights worrying about your baby. By following some simple rules, you can create a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Not only will you be taking measures to prevent SIDS but youíre also helping your baby get a more peaceful and restful nightís sleep, which means you may be able to get a little sleep too.
The first thing you should do is make sure your babyís crib conforms to regulation standards. If youíre crib is second-hand then try a simple test to see if you can fit a can of soda through the slots. If you can, then the crib may not be safe.
Check that the mattress fits tightly and that there arenít any visible gaps. The mattress should also be firm but still comfortable.
Donít use a pillow or fluffy blankets or comforters. Use a flat tightly fitted sheet on the crib and tuck in any sheets used for covering tightly around baby to avoid her slipping under or use a baby sleeping bag for added safety. Remove items like stuffed animals or decorative pillows from the crib before placing baby in it.
Place your baby to sleep on her back to avoid SIDS. Medical experts and researchers suggest the best position to put your baby to sleep on is on her back. Placing a baby to sleep on their stomach increases the risk of SIDS by up to 50% according to research.
Also, place your baby in the crib with her feet touching the bottom of the crib to avoid her slipping under the bedding.
Be careful not to overheat your baby. Place your hand on your babyís neck to make sure sheís not too cold or warm. Also, check for sweating or rapid breathing. You should also get a room thermometer and keep the temperature at around 65 degrees F (ask your pediatrician for their recommended temperature level).
Donít place your crib near any dangling items like a blind cord, which your baby may wrap around her neck. Also make sure there are no lamps or other items that may be pulled down, and donít forget small items on a crib side table which baby may choke on.
Donít smoke or allow others to smoke around baby. If someone in your family smokes make sure they do it outside. Smoking near your baby or simply in the same house can significantly increase the chances of your baby developing SIDS, it may also cause a number of other health related issues.
Breast feed your baby. New research has shown a link between breast feeding and reduced incidents of SIDS. This may be in part because a lot of breast feeding moms will tend to co-sleep with their babies. Several studies have shown that co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS because it allows mothers to respond quickly to any changes in their babyís sleeping patterns or breathing. However, new research has shown that sleeping with your baby at a very young age can actually increase the risk of SIDS.
The best thing to do is speak to your pediatrician for individual advice on whatís best for you. If you do decide to co-sleep please make sure that neither you or your partner have had too much alcohol or are taking heavy medications that would induce heavier sleep.