While the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is still somewhat of a mystery to healthcare providers, doctors are certain that many of these deaths could have been prevented if the child was sleeping in a safe environment. Researchers […]
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7 Ways to Keep Your Baby’s Slumber Safe

by Jessa McClure on August 12, 2014

in Safety

babyWhile the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is still somewhat of a mystery to healthcare providers, doctors are certain that many of these deaths could have been prevented if the child was sleeping in a safe environment.

Researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics discovered that out of 436 infant deaths in 2011, 382 cases occurred because of unsafe sleep conditions.

McLane Children’s Scott & White Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention Supervisor, Susan Burchfield, offers some tips on how to keep your baby’s slumber safe.

1. Place your baby on his back to sleep

Although the rules have changed over the years for what is recommended, doctors and researchers have found that your child is safest when he is sleeping on his back.

“We still get the question, ‘won’t they choke when they’re on their back?’” Ms. Burchfield said. “They have determined that no, a healthy baby will spit up and will not choke on their saliva.”

But the injury prevention expert said that the key word here is “healthy.” If your healthcare provider tells you to place your child in a different position for sleep, then follow their instructions.

2. Remove soft bedding or unnecessary crib additions

“We want a firm mattress and a fitted sheet over that mattress so there’s nothing loose that the baby could become entangled in or could get up around their face,” she said.

It’s also important to remove any soft bedding like comforters or heavy blankets, crib bumpers or stuffed animals that could become a suffocation risk.

Wedges and other devices that allow the baby to sleep on their side are also dangerous and should be removed from the child’s bed.

3. Lose the covers

Your baby should be dressed in a onesie or sleeper that will keep him warm enough without the use of blankets.

“The clothing should be snapped or fastened in a way that it can’t get up around the baby’s face,” Ms. Burchfield said. “It needs to stay below the chin and not ride up.”

4. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle propped in his mouth

Propping the baby’s bottle with a blanket or another device can be a dangerous method of feeding your baby and should never be used while your child is sleeping or napping.

“Not too long ago we had a baby come into the ER and die because the bottle was propped and the formula was coming out of the bottle faster than they could swallow. The baby aspirated the milk and died.”

Hold your baby while he is taking a bottle and use this time for bonding.

5. Place your baby in his own space to sleep

Data shows that baby is safest when they are sleeping alone in a crib, Pack ‘n Play or bassinet, without parents or siblings.

“People tend to tell us, family bed—family bonding,” Ms. Burchfield said. “Our statement to that is, bond when everybody’s awake.”

6. Be cautious when allowing baby to sleep in car seats, bouncy chairs or swings

It can be easy to take advantage of the quiet time you get when your baby falls asleep in the car seat or baby swing. But, Ms. Burchfield warns parents to be careful when allowing their child to sleep in these devices.

“If the baby is sitting too far forward, the baby’s chin can fall to his chest and then we have an airway problem,” she said.

7. Make sure used furniture is safe

If you’re going to be using a hand-me-down crib or buying used, make sure the crib meets the newest safety standards. Your baby’s crib should not have a drop side or have slats more than 2 3/8” apart.

For more information and more safe sleeping tips, visit Kohl’s Safe Babies at Scott & White.

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