It’s not necessarily a pleasant topic to think about, but making sure that your infant’s sleeping environment is free from hidden hazards is key to keeping them safe at night. Extra-plush bedding, fluffy pillows and large openings in the guardrails of your crib aren’t things that you typically associate with danger, but to an infant, they can be very harmful. In the United States, accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (ASSB) is the leading cause of infant death due to injury. But with a few small adjustments to your baby’s crib and bedding, you can make sure that your little bundle of joy slumbers safely.
Once you’re able to get your baby to sleep, you should always place him to rest on his back — never his stomach or sides, as these positions can lead to suffocation. Be mindful of the temperature in your baby’s room and don’t let him overheat. Signs your baby is too warm include sweating, flush cheeks and damp hair. Dress your baby as light as possible for sleep, and consider using a pacifier to calm and soothe him to sleep.
The physical place where your baby sleeps is one of the most important choices you’ll make as a parent. It’s important for your baby to comfortable, but it’s also crucial that your crib provides the safest sleeping experience possible. First and foremost, you need a sturdy, durable design with bars that are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. There should be a distance of at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress to the top of the crib rail, and you should avoid crib designs with drop rails. Position your baby’s crib away from windows and HVAC vents to avoid exposing your little one to wild temperature swings, and make sure that your baby can’t reach outside of the crib for any nearby blind or curtain cords.
The crib’s mattress is another important consideration for sleep safety. It should be firm and provide a snug fit within the crib’s walls. Never allow your baby to sleep on excessively soft surfaces like waterbeds or large, soft pillows.
We know you want to make you baby as comfy as possible while he sleeps, but you also need to make sure that you’re not sacrificing safety for added coziness. Pillows, duvets, heavy blankets, and large stuffed toys have no place in your child’s crib, as they can lead to suffocation. Your safest bet is to use light cotton sheets and cellular blankets to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature. Alternatively, you could use a baby sleeping bag, which is safe because your baby can’t kick it off. And while they may be marketed as safety devices, crib bumpers have actually been proven to cause overheating, strangulation and suffocation, and should be avoided at all costs. There are other options that may provide the same features of crib bumpers without all the inherent dangers. Check out these crib bumper pad alternatives for more information.
If your little one is especially young, it’s probably tough to just put him to bed and leave the room. And thanks to modern technology, you really don’t have to. With a wireless security camera connected to ADT Pulse, you can easily keep an eye on your infant from anywhere in your home, while also giving him a small taste of independence as he sleeps in his own space.
At Protect Your Home, we are committed to helping you keep your family as safe as possible. For more advice on infant sleep safety, head over to the CDC Resource Center.