Bringing a new little one into this world is an amazing experience you’ll never forget. As your little one grows, one of the biggest jobs you have as a parent is keeping that new baby of yours safe and providing them with a safe sleep environment. Unfortunately, SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants 1-4 months old. Luckily, though, SIDS can be easily prevented if you follow safe sleep guidelines. In an effort to reduce the risks of sleep-related infant deaths and incidents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established safe sleep guidelines that parents should follow to keep their baby safe when sleeping. Want to know the most helpful guidelines? Keep reading!
A – Alone. Your baby should always sleep alone in their own crib or bassinet, on their back.
B – Back. Your baby should always sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
C – Crib. Your baby should always sleep in a firm, clean crib with a tight-fitting sheet.
Don’t use any soft bedding in your baby’s sleep area, including blankets, pillows, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
This includes loose blankets or pillows, stuffed animals, or other soft objects. This also includes crib bumper pads, which are not conducive to a safe sleeping environment for babies.
Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress that does not conform to their head shape, and should not be placed to sleep on a regular bed, couch, or another soft surface that could contour to their body and create a risk of accidental suffocation. AAP recommends using a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet only.
Consider room-sharing with your baby, but not bed-sharing. The AAP recommends doing this for at least the first 6 months and optimally, for the first year of your baby's life. Room-sharing can help reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
Keep your baby at a comfortable temperature to avoid overheating. Dress your baby in appropriate clothing that does not cover their face or head. Consider using a safe wearable blanket, like a sleep sack.
These products are often marketed to help prevent SIDS or flat head syndrome, but there is no evidence that they actually work. In fact, wedges and positioners can actually increase the risk of SIDS by making it harder for babies to move their heads and turn over.
Don’t allow smoking around your baby or in your home, as this increases the risk of SIDS.
Creating a safe sleep environment for your baby is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. There are many simple steps you can take to make sure your baby’s sleeping area is free from hazards and conducive to a good night’s sleep.