Sleep is critical for the development (brain and Physical) and growth of a baby but sleep time is also one of the most dangerous times for infants. Every year thousands of children across the world die in their sleep as a result of SIDS. And as sad as this statistic might be it is still a fact and so it if your responsibility as a parent to take precautions to keep your infant safe as he sleeps. In some cases, there is little that you can do to prevent SIDS, but there are numerous things that parents can do to reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.
Here are the six most effective ways to keep your baby safe during sleep.
#1 Keep Him Close to You
Most parents will invest a lot of time and resources in creating the perfect nursery for their newborns. But having the baby in a separate room is a terrible idea because he will be safer when sleeping close to the parents. Although you can use monitoring gadgets to check on your baby, the time that you take to get to his nursery might be the difference between life and death. Instead, of having him in a separate room, you should have his crib next to your bed so that you can be able to see and hear him as he sleeps. But, make sure that you do not have him in your bed because this will only expose him to more danger.
#2 Choose His Mattress and Beddings Keenly
As you shop for baby products, you should dedicate some extra time to the crib and everything else that the child will use when sleeping because they will determine his safety. For the crib, you should go for something with certifications and approvals for baby use from the relevant authorities. The mattress that you buy for the crib should be firm so that it will not indent when you lay the child on it. When purchasing beddings, you should make sure that the sheets are soft enough and that they fit correctly to avoid strangulation. The blankets should be warm enough, not too thick and fit the crib well. Sometimes swaddling the child might give him enough warmth and so you will not even need to cover him up with a baby blanket.
#3 Invest in a Night Light
Kids have a hard time sleeping in a bright room, but as a parent, you still need to see the child as he sleeps. The solution to this is investing in a night light for baby because it is not as bright as the regular lights. Apart from making sure that you can check on your child as he sleeps (which is vital for keeping him safe) it also has many other benefits. Key among them is that it is soothing and so the child will fall asleep fast. Also, if he wakes up, it can help him go back to sleep on his own and so it is very beneficial when you are teaching the baby how to self-soothe.
#4 Keep the Crib Clutter-Free
The baby’s crib should not have anything else besides from the mattress and beddings when the child is sleeping. Loose beddings, soft objects, and small toys are very dangerous when the baby is sleeping and having them on the crib will increase the risk of strangulation, suffocation, and entrapment. And so before you put the child in the crib you should always make a thorough inspection to ensure that there are no foreign objects in his sleeping area. Also, make sure that you do not leave any toys in the crib that you might use to soothe him to sleep.
#5 Baby’s Should Always Sleep On the Back
You should always put your child to sleep on his back until he turns one. Sleeping on the side or stomach is very dangerous for kids because research shows that it increases the risk of SIDS. And contrary to what most parents think sleeping on the back does not increase the risk of choking, and neither does it make it hard for the child to sleep for long. Once your baby learns how to roll over to the side, you will not have to keep turning him to his back again because this is a sign that he can change his sleep position without parental help. Also, make sure that you give him some tummy time daily because it helps in the development of the shoulders, arms, and neck.
#6 Keep the Air Clean and Moist
Babies are very sensitive to pollutants, and so you should ensure that the air in your child’s sleeping chamber is clean. Avoid smoking in the room because second-hand smoking is very dangerous for a child and this is more so when he is sleeping. Also, it is a perfect idea to invest in a humidifier so that you can keep the air in the room moist and clean during nap time. An air conditioner can also be very helpful for cleaning the air.
As important as sleep might be for your child it is still the time when he is at most risk. The six points above will help you keep him safe as he sleeps but there are many other things that you will need to do such as ensuring that he gets all his shots on time. Also, research shows that breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of SIDS significantly.
Jane Collins is a blogger at g9sleeptight.com, a blog dedicated to providing useful tips and solution on healthy sleep. Follow Jane’s twitter at: @g9sleeptight