Having a great sleeper at home is amazing, but, above all, you want to make sure that your baby is safe when sleeping.
Below you will find some recommendations for babies 0-12 months old following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines.
- Be placed to sleep on their backs until they are 12 months old (if your baby can roll over independently, don't stress about it if you find him on his belly in the middle of the night)
- Be dressed comfortably. Your baby should not wear more than one more layer than adults to avoid overheating. They should not look sweaty and/or flushed and their tummy and back should not be cold.
- Be offered a pacifier. It is proved that the use of a pacifier during sleep reduces significantly the risk of SIDS. If you are breastfeeding you should wait to introduce it until the BF'ing is established and you do not need to replace the pacifier if it falls.
- Not be swaddled if they can already roll over independently. Rather transition the baby to a sleep sack with a TOG appropriate to the temperature.
The crib must...
- Be free of loose bedding that your baby can get tangled up with. Rather than covering your baby with a blanket, use a sleep sack or swaddle depending on age
- Be free of bumpers at least while they are infants. Until then they are not able to move their heads back if they cannot breathe
- Be free of toys, bows, drop-down sides...
- Be at a minimum of an arm's length of furniture, windows, pending cords...
- Show no gaps around the edges of the mattress
- Be set at an appropriate height: If your baby can already sit down by herself, is time to move the base of the crib to the lowest position
- Should be at a comfortable temperature for sleep (18 - 22ºC / 64 - 71ºF). There is a study that actually supports the use of ceiling fans to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you are using a standing fan or the air conditioner, make sure that this does not hit your baby directly. You will want to consider using a cool air humidifier as well to avoid a very dry atmosphere.
- It is advised that babies share the room with mom and dad at least until they are 6 months of age, and preferably for the first 12 months.
- Bed sharing is not recommended: we do lose our senses while sleeping and this can mean a potential hazard for our baby if she is sleeping in our bed. Nevertheless, should you be feeding your baby and fear falling asleep, it is less dangerous to do so in the bed than in a couch. If you fell asleep while feeding your baby, make sure to place the baby back on his crib as soon as you wake up.
Sleeping in the car seat
If you are on the go and the baby falls asleep in the car seat, you need to observe some precautions as well:
- Make sure the car seat is firmly secured and attached and buckle up the baby following directions
- Do not swaddle your baby
- Do not use positions, extra padding or toys
- If out of the car, make sure the baby continues to be buckled in correctly and keep his face on sight at all times. Make sure you take the baby out of the car seat as soon as you reach your destination.
I hope this list helps you keep your baby safe! Should you have any doubt or question, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org