Posted by Marianne Frederick
Recently, the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHHD) issued a new informational brochure called “Safe Sleep for Your Baby.” The single-page fact sheet provides details of what a safe sleep environment looks like and how to help parents and caregivers of infants reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
For an infant’s safe sleep, the NICHHD recommends the following to parents and caregivers:
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress in a safety-approved crib covered with a fitted crib sheet. (Parents can explore what a safety-approved crib is by visiting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website http://www.cpsc.gov or calling the CPSC at 1/800-638-2772);
- DO NOT USE pillows, blankets, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in the baby’s sleep area;
- Keep toys, soft objects, and loose bedding out of a baby’s sleep area;
- Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head;
- Always place your baby on his or her back for naps or to sleep at night;
- Dress your baby in light-weight sleep garments;
- If you give your baby a pacifier anytime–whether for naps or at night, make sure it is dry and not attached to a string; and
- Don’t let your baby become too hot during sleep.
The fact sheet adds several additional cautions for parents and caregivers, and they are important to bear in mind: Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on chair alone. Your baby should not sleep with you or anyone else.
To help your baby breathe healthfully, please don’t smoke, and don’t let anyone else smoke, around your baby. Babies are sensitive to the stimuli around them and so are their respiratory systems. As parents and caregivers we need to do everything possible to keep babies as safe as possible and that means moms need to get regular health care during pregnancy, so that baby’s healthy development can be monitored even before birth. Once your baby is born, be sure to get baby regular health checkups and your health care provider’s advice about baby’s vaccinations.