Safe Sleep Choicesby Meri Hanson Levy, CLE, Bonding & Parenting Coach
Regardless of where you stand on the issue
of bed-sharing versus cribs, there are safe ways and unsafe ways to put your
baby to sleep. Here are some tips to help your baby sleep safely ? with or
The Problem: Over
9,000 children are brought to hospitals each year due to injuries suffered in
cribs. An average of 54 children per year die from crib injuries.
How to Keep Safe: Avoid
used cribs with corner post extensions, ill-fitting mattresses, wide slats, or
other features that can cause injury. If you are not sure if a used crib is
safe, don?t use it!
Features to Beware of:
- Corner posts should not be higher than
the end panels on the crib. Children?s clothing can get caught on extended
corner posts and pose a strangulation hazard.
- Space between slats must be less than 2
3/8? and no slats should be missing.
- All screws, bolts and hardware must be
in place and tight to prevent the crib from collapsing.
- Mattress must fit snugly so that two
adult fingers cannot fit between the mattress and the crib side.
- Do not use cribs with cutout designs in
end panels. Child can strangle due to entrapment.
Crib Safety Tips:
- Never put infants to sleep on fluffy,
plush surfaces such as sheepskins, quilts, comforters or pillows.
- Never fasten a pacifier around a baby?s
- Never hang any object from a string
where a baby could become caught it in and strangle
- Never leave a child in the crib with
the side rail lowered.
- Remove crib gyms and mobiles when
baby is able to push up on hands and knees
- Keep drapes, ribbons, blind cords and
wall hangings out of child?s reach
- Make sure crib sheets fit securely
? if they come loose, they can pose a strangulation hazard
- Always put your infant to sleep on
their back, unless your doctor directs otherwise
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned parents against bed-sharing due to
the risks presented by adult bedding and the concern that parents may roll over
on their babies.
How to Keep Safe:
Make sure that your bed is a safe sleeping environment for a baby, and never allow a smoker or an adult who is impaired by drugs, alcohol or medications to sleep with your baby.
Bed-Sharing Safety Tips:
- Always place your infant on its back to
sleep. Do not use anything to prop or hold your baby in place.
- Be careful when using certain
medications, drugs or alcohol. If you or your partner are taking any substance
that makes you drowsy, it is best to place baby in a crib next to your bed, to
avoid the risk of mistakenly smothering your baby.
- Avoid using fluffy pillows, stuffed
toys, plastics and loose bedding, which pose a suffocation hazard. Place the
baby on a firm flat surface which is covered by a tight fitting sheet ? even
Other tips for safe sleeping:
- Do not let anyone smoke around your
baby. Second-hand smoke affects normal infant breathing and can cause
respiratory and other medical problems. Do not bedshare if you are a smoker.
- Do not put baby to sleep on sofas,
recliners, waterbeds, futons, or beanbags, even for naps.
- Avoid overheating your baby. Your baby
should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the temperature of your home should be
kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Your baby should not feel hot or
moist to the touch.
For more information on safe sleeping,
contact the Contra Costa SIDS Program at 925-313-6254. For more information on
crib safety, contact The Danny Foundation at 1-800-833-2669.
Information for this article was
provided by the Contra Costa SIDS Program and The Danny Foundation.
Meri Hanson Levy, CLE is a Coach-Parenting™ Certified Coach and Certified Lactation Educator, the mother of three children, as well as the former Executive Director of The Nurture Center. Visit her website at www.BondingCoach.com.