There's nothing in the world like bringing your newborn home from the hospital and starting the incredible journey that is parenthood. But first, you must take specific measures to keep your baby safe, especially while sleeping during the first year.
There's a risk of suffocation during sleep and sudden infant death syndrome. And while there is not a large amount of information about what causes SIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that over 3,400 children die from it yearly.
Though SIDS is terrifying to think about, medical experts have identified ways to ensure that your baby's sleeping environment is safe. And there are several steps you can take along with a vast amount of information to ensure you create a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
Though baby monitors can't directly stop SIDS or suffocation, they can provide some safety and security for children and parents. There are several different kinds of baby monitors to research, and the best one for your situation depends on what you want and can afford.
These different kinds of baby monitors stem from regular baby monitor with camera and audio that let you hear and watch inside your baby's room to intelligent baby monitors that measure your baby's RPM(respiration per minute). So, if you're looking for peace of mind, a baby monitor is always a great addition to your little one's sleeping environment.
#2. Sleeping Arrangements
Cuddling with your baby and wanting them to sleep close to you is every parent's dream. However, one of the essential suggestions regarding a safe sleeping environment is sleeping arrangements. Sleeping with your child during the year is considered hazardous, and the CDC recommends that parents keep the crib or the bassinet in their room for the first six months if possible.
You might also want to avoid sleeping with your newborns on couches and recliners. Sleep-related infant deaths are common and can be avoidable.
Though they are available everywhere, and you want your children to have soft and cozy blankets, it is not safe to put them in their crib during this one-year window. When putting your child to sleep, there must be nothing in bed with them that could cause suffocation or strangulation.
These items include loose, cozy blankets mentioned earlier. Newborns move, but in the first few months, they have yet to develop the motor skills to move something away or off their faces.
Since the risk of SIDS increases when a baby is too hot or too cold, you want to avoid over bundling or not bundling enough. There are signs to look for when your baby is too hot or too cold. For example, if their hair is wet and they are visibly sweating with red skin, you might need to remove a layer or two. And if they are shivering or their skin is cold to the touch, you might need to add a layer.
Perfect temperatures are hard to achieve, so here are some things to remember.
- Nothing should be covering your baby's head (like hats). This could cause overheating.
- There shouldn't be any space heaters or electric blankets beside or inside your baby's b
- If you need extra air, you can use a fan on the lowest setting or crack a window.
If you're worried about the temperature and your baby is too cold, there are always alternatives like swaddle blankets that are wearable and footed pajamas.
#5. Keep Bed Free From Toys
Just as you don't want to keep any loose blankets in your baby's crib, there should be no loose toys like stuffed animals left in the crib when it's your baby's sleep time. These things lying around in the crib increase the chances of suffocation or strangulation. In short, there should be nothing in the crib that isn't attached. Here's a list of things this includes.
- Stuffed animals
- Non-fitted sheets
- Mattress toppers
#6. Back To Sleep
In 1994, the NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Development) partnered with several other entities to create the Back To Sleep Campaign to educate parents, childcare providers, and families on SIDS. And since the campaign launch, SIDS has decreased by 50% in the United States.
Back To Sleep not only educated people on SIDS but also let parents and caregivers know that the best way to put children to sleep was on their backs since it decreases the chances of SIDS. Additionally, here are some tips from the Back To Sleep Campaign.
Newborns to one year should be placed on their backs to sleep. Even those that have reflux issues and are preterm.
- Placing babies on their sides and stomachs to sleep can increase the risk by 45%.
- When your baby can roll both ways, you can place them on their backs to sleep, and they can choose whatever way they want to sleep.
- If they can only roll one way, place them back on their backs to decrease the risk of SIDS.
#7. Keep The Room Dark
A sleep hormone called melatonin is activated when it's dark. Babies aren't born with a circadian rhythm, also called the sleep-wake cycle, so to help this rhythm develop, it's best to keep it dark during their nap time.
Also, light is a stimulus meant to wake us up, so the absence of light can help them understand subconsciously that dark equals bedtime. This practice will become increasingly important as they get older and fight sleep.
As parents, it's hard to think about all the things that can go wrong when you bring your newborn home from the hospital, and that's why it's vital to gain knowledge on the processes needed to keep your baby safe, especially during their sleep time. From investing in baby monitor to learning how to avoid risks by setting up their rooms and practicing the safety mentioned in this article, you can be confident that you have lowered your risk.