Sleep Safety – October 6, 2019

Sleep Safety – October 6, 2019 – October marks Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance and Safe Sleep Awareness all to promote the safe sleep of our precious little ones. While this is an unpleasant topic, it is a very important one to understand and have awareness about when becoming a parent. Understanding the Safe Sleep Guidelines for your little ones sleep can help lower the risk and prevent SIDS from occurring.

I follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (which has many similarities to the Canadian Pediatric Society guidelines) when it comes to promoting safe sleep. It is very important to have the most up to date information when making decisions about your child’s safety.

It can be difficult to follow, especially in the throws of reflux, illness and overall exhaustion and unsafe sleep is often done reactionary to a situation. I have created a quick guide that touches on some key points for a safe and effective sleep environment.

Quick Reference Guide for Safe Sleep: ABC’s

Alone  

  • Place baby alone on a firm sleep surface such as a crib, bassinet, pack n play for every sleep – naps and nighttime. The sleep space should be bare containing only a tight-fitting sheet. Ensure the room temperature is comfortable for you and it will be comfortable for your baby. 
  • Do not use crib bumpers (including mesh), blankets, pillows or plush toys. Avoid sleep positioners, such as rolled up blankets or wedges in the sleep space. This can cause suffocation.
  • Once your baby is at least 12 months of age you can safely introduce a blanket or lovey into the crib.

Back

  • ALWAYS place your baby on his or her back without anything in the crib. The rate of SIDS has dramatically decreased since the Back to Sleep campaign.
  • Once your baby can confidently roll both ways there is no need to reposition them if they can move themselves.
  • Supervised tummy time during play time is important to develop muscles and helps to prevent a flat head from developing. 
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime which is known to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Crib

  • Room sharing (not on the same sleep surface) is preferred until your baby is 12 months, but at least for the first 6 months to lower the risk of SIDS by 50 percent. 
  • Swings, bouncers, strollers and car rides are very handy to help your little one drift off to sleep in the newborn stage, but are not made for unsupervised sleep. They should be moved to a flat firm safe sleep surface once they have dozed off. 
  • Avoid sleep positioners, such as rolled up blankets and wedges, and other inclined surfaces such as dock-a-tots, rock n play, car seats out of the base and loungers. Soft surfaces, such as adult beds, couches, and armchairs can increase the risk of suffocation.

Your baby will eventually sleep through the night. Please don’t be tempted to resort to dangerous and unsafe sleep practices. Newborns are wired to wake up frequently and irregularly to keep them healthy and fed in the early weeks. Reach out and accept help when needed to get through the early days. 

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