You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Safe sleep for your baby is simple!

Safe sleep is simple….

Sleep…something that new parents usually don’t get enough of!  “How do I help my baby sleep?” is one of the most common questions I get from new parents.  I remember those groggy days after being up and down all night.  The good news is…eventually your baby will sleep! As parents, you want your baby to sleep, but you also want your baby to sleep in the safest environment.  Knowing the guidelines for safe sleep for your baby is a must! Sudden infant death syndrome  (SIDS )is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year.  We don’t know the exact cause of SIDS but we do know that the rate of SIDS has decreased significantly since the recommendation of putting babies to sleep on their backs.  Making sure that EVERYONE that takes care of your baby knows the safe sleep guidelines will protect your baby.  Tell grandma and grandpa, babysitters, check your childcare providers, anyone that will be putting your baby to bed for naps or bedtime these safe sleep guidelines!

  • Always always ALWAYS place your baby on his or her back to sleep.   Back to sleep for naps and bedtime!
  • Your baby’s mattress should be firm and covered by a fitted sheet.  No pillows, quilts, or bumper pads, or other soft items in bed with your baby.  Do not use any sleep positioners.
  • Put your baby in a safe crib, no drop side cribs.  Your crib should meet the current safety standards published in June of 2011.  To read those standards visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby.  Ask smokers to change their shirt before holding your baby.
  • Do not sleep in a bed, on a couch or in an armchair with your child.  If you bring your baby to bed with you to nurse, put him or her back in his or her own bed.
  • Consider using a pacifier when your put your baby to bed.  If you are breastfeeding wait until your child has established  a good nursing pattern.
  • Do not overdress your baby, dress your baby lightly for sleep.  Consider a sleep sack.   Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is near you but not with you.  Put your newborn’s bed near your bed.

Common questions:

1.  What if my baby spits up and chokes when sleeping on his back?

Healthy babies will swallow or cough up any spit up.  There has been no increase in choking since the recommendation of back to sleep for babies.

2.  Won’t my baby get a flat head?

Your baby needs tummy time while awake!  Put your baby on his or her tummy to play and back to sleep.  At least 20 minutes of tummy time a day helps your baby strengthen upper body muscles and prevent flat spots on the head.  Many babies don’t like tummy time to begin with, place them on a boppy, lie down in front of them, place a mirror in front of them, or let them lay on your chest; all of these techniques help your little one start to enjoy tummy time.

3.  Can I cover my child?

It is best not to have anything in your baby’s crib but a tight fitting flat sheet over the mattress.  Dress your baby in a sleep sack, there are different weights for different climates.  If you must use a blanket, place the blanket below the baby’s arms and tuck all sides of the blanket under the mattress.  Most babies do NOT need a blanket.

4.  Can my baby ever sleep on his tummy?

When your baby can roll from front to back and back to front freely, then your baby can sleep in which ever position is comfortable for him or her.  Be sure to remove your child from a swaddle once your child is able to roll.

5.  What can we all do to promote safe sleep?

  • Know the safe sleep practices
  • Be an advocate.  When you see crib displays in stores that are unsafe, talk to the manager about safe sleep and ask that the display show a safe sleep environment.
  • When you see an ad or a picture in the paper that shows an unsafe sleeping environment, write the editor of the magazine or paper.
  • If you know teens that babysit, be sure that they know proper safe sleep practices.
  • Be sure that anyone that cares for your baby knows and practices safe sleep guidelines ALL of the time.

Since the Back to Sleep campaign began, the number of SIDS deaths has decreased by nearly 50%.  Let’s all work together as parents to be sure every baby can sleep safely.  Happy snoozing!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



American Academy of Pediatrics

Healthy Kids, Healthy Care:  A Parent Friendly Tool on Health and Safety Issues in Child Care

First Candle/SIDS Alliance

National SIDS and Infant Death Resource Center



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