As adults, we sometimes assume babies should sleep like we do: on a soft, comfy bed, cuddled up with a warm blanket and pillow. However, this is not true. For safety reasons, babies should sleep on a firm surface, cuddled up just in their pajamas or a sleep sack.
Use a sleep sack, not a blanket
Don’t use blankets, pillows, stuffed toys or bumper pads with a sleeping baby. If you are worried about your baby being cold, use a sleep sack to keep your baby warm.
Why? Your baby isn’t strong enough or coordinated enough to remove soft flimsy items from his or her face. These items increase a baby’s risk for suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Place baby on back, not on side or stomach
Until your baby turns one, your baby should be placed on his or her back while sleeping; including during daytime naps. However once your baby has learned to roll over onto his or her stomach while sleeping, you no longer need to roll your baby onto his or her back again during sleep.
Why? Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomach or side. When a baby is placed on his or her side, the baby can easily roll onto his or her stomach, putting the baby in an unsafe sleeping position. It is a common myth that babies might choke when sleeping on their backs. However, your baby’s airway anatomy and gag reflex will keep this from happening.
Provide a firm surface, not a swing or soft couch
A firm sleep surface such as a crib, bassinet or pack and play is the safest sleep place for your baby. Never let your baby sleep on a couch or chair. Also, if your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing or infant carrier, move your baby to a firm sleep surface.
Why? Soft, plushy surfaces can cause curving of an infant’s neck and spine, which can make it harder to take a full, deep breath. Infant equipment that is not made for sleeping can put your baby in dangerous positions that restrict airflow.
Share your room, not your bed
Room sharing is recommended for the first six to 12 months of your baby’s life. Place your baby’s crib, bassinet or pack and play close to your bed.
Why? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed sharing.
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