Is Co-Sleeping Safe?
Around 3,700 infants die every year due to a variety of sleep-related deaths. If you worry about your child’s safety when you lay them to sleep at night, you’re not alone. Many parents have long sleepless nights thinking about whether or not their baby is safe in his own crib. For some, co-sleeping becomes a regular bedtime routine. Though you may have more peace of mind with your child sleeping next to you, health regulations and safety guidelines advise parents to steer clear of this dangerous sleeping situation. Co-sleeping can lead to a variety of safety hazards that leave your child in more danger than in his own crib. By following the AAP’s recommendations for how to keep your baby safe while sleeping, you can rest easy at night with your child close by.
Where should my baby sleep?
While your child is an infant, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in his own crib or bassinet. It is incredibly important to remember to only place your child on his back. Over time, your child will learn to roll on his own. However, learning to roll does not justify placing him on his stomach to sleep. For the first 4-6 months of your child’s life, we recommend keeping their crib or bassinet in your room. Studies have shown that babies who begin sleeping on their own at 4 months tend to sleep for longer periods of time.
TIPS TO KEEP YOUR BABY SAFE →
How much sleep does my baby need?
It will come as no surprise that babies need lots of sleep. However, sleeping schedules will change as your child grows and develops. Knowing how much sleep your little one needs will not only help them stay more active during the day, but it will also allow you to get the rest you need. From newborn to three months, your baby should sleep between 14-16 hours a day in increments of two to four hours. Infants don’t sleep for long periods of time at once, because they wake up routines such as feedings. From four months to a year, your baby will still need up to 15 hours of sleep every day with a few wakeful hours for feeding as well. During these months, your baby will begin sleeping longer during the night and less in the day. Eventually, your child will begin sleeping 8-10 hours every night while learning how to soothe himself back to sleep.
Does my baby need a bedtime routine?
Though your baby’s sleep schedule may change from month to month, nighttime routines can help wind down the day and prepare the entire family for a good night's rest. There are a variety of ways to get your baby ready for sleep, including:
- Taking a warm bath
- Reading a book
- Singing a song
- Turning off stimulation
- Rocking to sleep
READ MORE: Creating an Effective Nighttime Routine
Dos and Don’ts of Safe Sleeping
Every parent should be committed to educating their entire family on safe sleeping habits. Here at Pediatrics East, we are dedicated to helping you keep your children safe and healthy no matter where they are or what they are doing. Here are a few dos and don’ts of safe sleeping:
Do: Place your child on a solid surface on his back.
Your child should be placed on a firm surface on his back. It’s important that your child’s crib has tightly fitted sheets to prevent loose material from causing issues throughout the night.
Don’t: Allow your child to sleep with anti-roll pillows.
Though your child rolling over during the night may scare you, sleep positioners are incredibly dangerous for your baby to sleep with. These pillows or other wedges are meant to keep babies from moving while sleeping, but have the potential to cause suffocation. This reinforces the importance of laying your child on his back with nothing else around.
Do: Make sure your crib meets safety guidelines.
It’s important to pay attention to product recalls and other safety guidelines professionals have announced surrounding the safety of your baby while sleeping. The Consumer Product Safety Commission gives updated information on safe sleeping practices for infants and toddlers.
Don’t: Keep any soft items or toys in the crib.
While your child is an infant, soft items and toys such as blankets, plush dolls, and more can increase the risk of suffocation, choking, or strangulation.
Do: Practice tummy-time and rolling over during the day.
We love watching babies grow and learn new things. Over time, your child will begin rolling over, lifting their head, sitting up, and more. One way to keep your child safe while sleeping is to practice while they are awake. Tummy-time and rolling practice can help strengthen their shoulder, neck, and head muscles.
Don’t: Place your child on his stomach for sleeping.
Once again, your child’s back is the safest place to be while sleeping. Even when you feel confident in their ability to roll over on their own, it’s important to begin every night on their back. Placing your child on his stomach increases the risk of SIDs or other sleep-related deaths.
Keeping Your Baby Safe at Pediatrics East
Sleep safety is one of the most important subjects to learn about as a parent. By continuing to educate yourself and those around you, your child is guaranteed a more safe and healthy environment. Our team at Pediatrics East is committed to providing families with the information and resources needed to protect their children inside and outside of the home.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep safety, contact our office to speak with a pediatrician.
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