Learn the qualities of safe and unsafe sleeping environments for babies
When it comes to creating a safe sleep environment for your newborn, there are a few simple guidelines to follow. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers important information on how to keep baby safe in their sleep space as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants after the first month of age. Keep reading for tips on how to create a safe sleep environment for your baby.
What is a safe sleep environment for newborns?
Safety is essential when it comes to caring for baby and sleep time is no different. The idea behind creating a safe sleep environment also means creating a good sleep environment that creates better sleep for longer stretches of time. One of the crucial aspects of safe sleep is to live in a smoke-free home. That means no smoking indoors and never, ever around your baby, especially around their sleep space! Further, it’s best to create a safe sleep space for baby by having her sleep in a room that is free of distraction and promotes sleep. This can be done with black out shades on the windows – (even the littlest amount of light can be stimulating to a baby!) as well as a white noise machine which can block out other noises preventing her from getting sleep. If black out shades and a white noise machine are not within your budget, there’s a hack for both! Black trash bags can be taped to the windows and there are plenty of free white noise apps that can be found online.
What does a safe sleep environment for newborns look like?
A safe sleep environment should also be a healthy sleep environment that creates a safe sleep space for baby. According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) follow this acronym for the ABC’s of safe sleep!
A – ALONE. Baby should always sleep alone but in the same room as her caregiver
B – BACK. Baby should always, always, always, be put to sleep on her back – both for naps and nighttime sleep.
C – CRIB. Baby should sleep in a crib or co-sleeper with a firm mattress and snug-fitting sheet – that is it! No bumpers, no extra bedding, no cuddle toys!
While some parents may be concerned that baby may be cold in her crib without a blanket, the Dreamland baby swaddle or sleep sack is perfect to keep baby at just the right temperature!
What are guidelines for a safe sleep environment for infants?
To ensure a safe sleeping environment for babies, it is best to:
- Room share, don’t bed share. While it may seem “easier” to bring baby into bed with you, she won’t be as safe in your bed as it is likely softer, has more bedding, and it’s possible that you could roll over on top of baby – all of which could compromise her well-being. If possible, have her crib or sleep space in the same room as you. Make sure she’s sleeping on her back and on a firm mattress. She will always get the best sleep – and longest stretches of sleep – sleeping in her own space.
- Avoid soft sleep surfaces. This means no sleeping on the couch or favorite chair, with baby. The safest place is for her to sleep on a firm surface such as her crib with nothing additional inside of it. Just baby, on her back, in a onesie, pajamas, and depending on her age, a swaddle or sleep sack.
- Just baby! That means nothing in her crib – no extra blankets, toys, or pillows.
- No smoking! Smoking around your baby is an absolute no-no. Both cigarette and marijuana smoke can create a serious health risk for your baby.
- Pacifiers work! If possible, once she is one month old, encourage your baby to use a pacifier. The sucking is soothing and helps reduce the risks of SIDS.
What environments are unsafe for sleeping babies?
Any environment that is too hot, too cold, too loud, full of smoke, and where baby is left unattended is absolutely unsafe for babies.
How do you create a safe sleeping environment for babies?
Once you understand the ABC’s of safe sleep, as well as creating a dark room with little sight and sound stimulation, your baby should be off to dreamland in no time! Remember, too, that establishing consistent sleep cues as well as routines for sleep, helps to create the best environment for good sleep.
For more tips on creating a proper sleeping environment for baby, please see the answers above!