Putting our precious little ones to sleep is perhaps one of the instances where we parents can finally heve a huge sigh of relief upon seeing our baby at peace. And as much as we want to doze off ourselves, we can’t help but check up on our sleeping babies from time to time just to make sure that they are indeed peacefully asleep. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS) is a scary thing and it happens, so whether our baby is tucked away safely in their crib, or we are co-sleeping with our baby, we always want to make sure that our baby is kept away from harm. Here are some safety measures that we can take in order to minimize the risk of SIDS and to ensure the safety of our babies in their sleep.
Let your baby sleep on their back. This is believed to be the safest sleeping position for babies. According to research, this position greatly reduces the incidence of SIDS. Babies who sleep on their backs are less prone to SIDS compared to babies who sleep on their stomach or sides.
Ensure crib safety. Ensure the integrity of the crib by making sure that the material is sturdy and that it should not create gaps that can trap or suffocate the baby. Older cribs that have remained in people’s homes for quite a number of years and hand-me-down cribs that have not been subjected to the latest safety standards may be no longer considered safe. When it comes to the inside of the crib itself, less is actually better, so you may want to avoid cot bumpers, stuffed toys, pillows and any loose and obstructive materials. These unnecessary items in your baby’s crib can increase risk of accidents, such as accidentally suffocating your baby. The surface should be firm, so it is better to use a tight-fitting sheet to cover the mattress.
Share a room with your baby. If you prefer room sharing rather than co-sleeping with your baby, then as much as possible, you may want to place your baby’s bassinet or crib close to your bed. This way, it will be much easier for you to attend to your baby’s needs right away, such as feeding, changing his diapers, or lulling him back to sleep when he wakes up. It is also believed that if you share a room with your baby, the risk of SIDS is decreased by as much as 50%.
Breastfeed your baby if you can. There is no doubt about the wonders that breastfeeding can do to your baby. Aside from the health benefits that it can provide your baby, it is also believed that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents by more than half. So breastfeed your baby if you can, but this doesn’t mean that bottle feeding is altogether a bad idea. We have to admit that some moms do struggle with breastfeeding, so whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby, as long as you do all the safety steps in putting your baby to sleep, then chances of SIDS are low.
Ensure safety of your baby’s sleeping environment. This includes making sure that the temperature in your baby’s room is comfortable – neither too hot nor too cold. The chances of SIDS are higher if the baby gets too hot, so you may want to try to keep the temperature in the room between 16-20 degrees Celsius. You may also want to check your baby’s clothing when he sleeps, so that it doesn’t overheat the baby. Furthermore, evidence strongly suggests that second-hand smoke harms babies and increases the risks of SIDS and sleeping accidents. Hence, the baby’s room should also be smoke-free; if you or your partner smokes, then you may want to consider quitting smoking.
Fortunately, the occurrence of SIDS nowadays is really rare, thanks to these guidelines that have been set after many years of research and study. Still, it won’t do us any harm if we also take these simple steps at home to really ensure the safety of our precious little ones while they sleep. By following these steps, we can make sleeping a safe and comfortable experience both for our baby and for us parents.