Safe Sleep: What All Parents Need to Know
As new parents, it’s important to create a safe sleep environment for your newborn. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), here are the guidelines that can lead to safer sleeping conditions for your little one:
Firm, Flat & Fitted
A crib, bassinet, portable crib or playard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), like the MamaRoo Sleep Bassinet or Breeze Playard, is recommended for safe sleep.
If your baby falls asleep while in a car seat, upright stroller, infant carrier, sling or an infant seat or swing, move them to a safe, flat and firm sleeping environment.
A firm surface is a harder surface – not the plush memory foam that adults are accustomed to for comfort. Babies’ bodies are different than adults. Babies have nearly 300 bones, while adults have 206. And babies’ bones and spines are softer than an adult’s, so it’s important that you use a firm surface, which not only supports their skeletal development, but also keeps them safe. The mattress should not indent when the baby is lying on it.
Lastly, ensure that the sheet on the crib, bassinet or playard is fitted and is made for that specific model. A sheet that does not fit properly could potentially endanger your little one.
Room-Share, Not Bed-Share
The AAP recommends that your newborn sleep in the same room – near your bed in a separate sleeping space – for at least the first 6 months of their life. Not only can this decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%, it will also make your life a little easier having your baby close for feedings, diaper changes, and to keep a watchful eye on them.
Bare Means Bare
It might look strange or uncomfortable for your baby to be sleeping in their crib, bassinet or playard without any blankets or toys, but keeping their sleep space bare is imperative for safe sleep. That means no blankets, no stuffed animals, no pillows…nothing. These can all be potential suffocation hazards and can also lead to overheating.
To keep your little one cozy, try swaddling them when they are a newborn. Once they start rolling over, discontinue using the swaddle and transfer them to an age-appropriate sleep sack or wearable blanket. As a general rule of thumb, your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing.
Back To Sleep
Firm, flat, fitted surface – check. Room sharing – check. A bare sleeping space – check. Now, make sure that you always place your baby on their back when in their crib, bassinet or playard. Studies have shown that babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides.
Developmentally, babies will begin to roll at around 3-4 months. Continue to place your baby on their back at nap or bedtime, but if they do roll onto their side or stomach, they can be left in that position if they are already able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. This is why ‘tummy time’ during the day is so important. It will help strengthen your little one’s neck, chest, arm, and shoulder muscles.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
Keeping your baby’s room cool, but comfortable is important for safe sleep. Try to keep the thermostat between 68 – 72 degrees F. When the room is too hot, research has shown that it can increase a baby’s risk of SIDS. So when in doubt, a little cooler is always better.
Always make sure that you’re keeping these sleep guidelines top of mind when making decisions on how to create the most comfortable and safest sleep environment for your little one. You got this! Now you can enjoy naptime and bedtime even more with a little peace of mind.