Each night when you put your baby down to sleep, it is essential that they are safe and secure in their space. As a parent, there are many things you can do to help ensure a safe environment when you put your baby down for a rest. From establishing healthy sleeping habits to creating a safe environment, check out some of our favorite tips to ensure your baby stays safe each night while they sleep.
Choosing a Safe Crib
When you’re shopping for a crib or bassinet, there are many factors that you should keep in mind. Ensure that the base of your crib or bassinet is broad and well-supported so that it won’t tip over or collapse. Look at the slats of your crib and make sure they are less than 2 3/8 inches wide so your baby’s head cannot fit through them. If you buy a used crib, make sure it was manufactured before June 2011 to meet current safety standards. Finally, check the weight limit on your bassinet, so you know when it’s time to move your baby to a crib.
The size and condition of your crib mattress are also important for your baby’s safety. Your crib mattress should fit snuggly within the crib, with no more than two fingers of space between them. Avoid crib mattresses that are over 6 inches thick as well as mattress toppers or pads, which may increase the risk of suffocation.
Help Baby Sleep on His or Her Back
Your baby should always be put to sleep flat on her back until 12 months of age. Sleeping on their tummy can increase your baby’s risk of suffocation, overheating, and SIDS. If your baby naturally rolls over while sleeping, you can let them keep sleeping that way but keep an eye on them if this starts to happen before three months of age.
Create a Safe Environment
As a parent, it is your job to create a safe environment for your baby to sleep in. First, make sure there are no objects in the crib with your baby. This includes bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows. All of these increase the risk for strangulation and suffocation in babies under two years old.
Make sure your baby doesn’t heat by choosing a simple one-piece sleeper and a sleep sack if you think they need an additional layer. The temperature in the room should be between 68- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re concerned your baby is overheating, feel the nape of their neck to make sure they are not sweating.
Outside of their crib, make sure that there is nothing in reach that could cause a potential suffocation or strangulation risk, such as a cord or curtains. Hanging a mobile above your baby’s crib is fine if it is at least 12 inches above the crib. Remove it once your baby is able to grab at it.
Consider Pros and Cons of Sharing a Bed
While we encourage having your newborn sleep in your bedroom for the first six months, both for their health and convenience, cosleeping or letting your baby share a bed with you can cause problems. The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) says cosleeping should be avoided as the risk of your baby falling off the bed or accidentally being rolled onto does not outweigh the benefits.
You can have your newborn sleep in the same room as you in either a bassinet or a crib, as long as it is safe and meets the latest CPSC guidelines. Avoid letting them sleep on anything else, such as gliders, infant pillows, or other surfaces, which may increase the risk of suffocation and SIDS. If your baby happens to fall asleep somewhere potentially unsafe, move them to a safer space like their crib as soon as possible.