Sleep is one of the most essential things your baby will experience, and their nursery should be the safest room in the house. You’ve probably heard a ton about the importance of safe sleep for infants, but what does that mean? We break down the ins and outs of safe sleep, what the crib should and shouldn’t include, and tips on getting your baby’s bedtime routine established.
What Is Safe Sleep?
Each year, nearly 3,400 babies die in the United States with causes attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, or strangulation during sleep. Safe sleep is the process of creating an environment for your child to sleep that will protect them from these dangers and keep them happy and healthy.
Understanding safe sleep involves knowing what items your baby does and doesn’t need in their crib, where your baby should sleep, how much sleep they need, and the environmental conditions of their room.
Where Should Your Baby Sleep?
Movies and television create false depictions of what your baby’s crib should look like and what items are appropriate to have around your child during naps and overnight. Here are some of the dos and don’ts for keeping your baby safe while they sleep.
Do’s and Don’ts for Baby’s Bed Time
Do: Place your baby on their back on a firm, flat surface to sleep, such as a crib mattress with a fitted sheet. The mattress should fit in the crib with no spaces between the frame and the mattress, and the sheet should fit tightly. Babies should sleep on their backs until they are one year old.
Don’t: bed-share or co-sleep. Although it can be convenient, bed-sharing is the most common cause of death for infants under three months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping your baby’s crib or bassinet in your room for at least the first six months, but preferably a year.
Do: Remove any electrical wires, drapes, or pulls for window blinds near your baby’s crib. These items are some of the most frequent causes of injury and death due to suffocation and choking.
Don’t: use sleep positioners, crib bumpers, or drop-side rails, and keep loose clothing, toys, and bedding out of their crib to prevent them from getting strangled, trapped, or suffocated.
Don’t: keep your baby’s room too hot or cold. Dress your baby in a sleep sack or use a swaddle, but never use blankets or increase the room’s temperature too much.
How to Create a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
Even though babies sleep for up to sixteen hours per day, you’ll likely feel that neither of you is getting enough sleep. However, creating a routine will make things easier for you both.
The AAP recommends beginning a bedtime routine when your baby is between four and six months old.
The Best Ways to Establish Your Baby’s Perfect Sleep Routine
– Turn off the television and end playtime to help your baby relax
- Give your baby a bath to help them wind down
- Read a book to your baby
- Use a pacifier to help calm your little one, but don’t force one if they don’t take it
- Sing songs or play soft, relaxing music
Routines work best when they are consistent. If you have a schedule change, it’s okay to modify their bedtime, but try to return to your schedule as quickly as possible.
Sleep is one of the most important things for your baby. You can create a safe and secure environment for your baby by paying attention to the details.