As a Child Sleep Consultant I feel it is very important that parents educate and empower themselves about what Safe Sleep is for their little ones.
So what is Safe Sleep?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has put guidelines in place regarding what constitutes safe sleep and I use these as my holy grail when advising parents on how to create a safe and supportive sleep environment for their little one. These guidelines were created to assist in preventing deaths as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs). This isn’t an easy topic for anyone and no one wants to think of this when they are bringing a new baby into their family. However, creating a safe sleep environment from birth is crucial in terms of sleep safety.
Below are the AAP recommendations when it comes to safe sleep for your infant and babies;
1. Always place a baby on its back to sleep & use a firm sleep surface – car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
2. The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
3. Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
4. Wedges and positioners should not be used.
5. Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
6. Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth – period.
7. Breastfeeding is recommended.
8. Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
9. Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
10. Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
11. Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
When you are making decisions about your childs sleep environment ask yourself, is this safe sleep?
When you are making purchases for you infant that are going to be part of their sleep environment ask yourself – are these supportive of safe sleep? There are an awful lot of products on the market that promote better sleep for your little (and for you) however when you examine them with the AAP guidelines in mind many of them to do fit with safe sleep. As a result, I would question purchases that will form part of your little ones sleep environment and ensure you are creating one that is as safe as possible for your baby.
Erica Hargaden is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and Mum of 3. She runs Babogue Sleep Solutions to help parents who are struggling with their childrens sleep and bring The Gift of Sleep to their lives. You can find out more on www.babogue.ie, @babogue_sleep, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +353 86 8260887.