Infants require a lot of sleep. That's why you need to make sure your newborn baby is always in a secure sleeping environment. Babies' sleep is crucial to their physical and mental well-being as well as their capacity to learn and adapt to the world around them. In order to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, and other sleep-related tragedies, parents should implement "safe sleep" practices. Following these safe practices will help keep your baby safe in their crib.
Why it’s important
Back to Sleep was launched in 1994 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and other partners to educate parents and caregivers on how to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The campaign's initial goal was to decrease the incidence of SIDS by getting parents to consistently place their babies on their backs to sleep. The overall rate of sudden infant death syndrome in the United States has decreased by 50 percent since the campaign began, while the number of children sleeping on their backs has climbed dramatically.
Babies need to feel safe and secure in order to sleep soundly. The atmosphere in which they sleep, their surroundings, and the surface they are sleeping in all contribute to how safe and secure they are while they’re sleeping. By the time they are 5 months old, most infants have gained double their birth weight, and by the time they are 12 months old, they have gained three times as much.
Moreover, within the first year of life, your child's brain will grow to around double its size. They grow and learn quickly; in fact, much of it takes place while they slumber. Getting enough sleep is critical for maintaining a healthy immune system at any age, but it is especially crucial for infants whose systems are still developing and weaker than an adult's. Again, sleeping helps the immune system mature and strengthen over time.
Don’t share a bed with your baby
Some parents bed-share for different reasons; bed-sharing promotes breastfeeding by making night time feeding easier, reduces fussiness and facilitates sleep, and provides mothers with more quality time with their infants. But bed-sharing can put your baby at risk.
Bedsharing raises the risk of suffocation, strangling, and SIDS. There are numerous ways in which your baby could become injured or increase the risk of dying if they’re sleeping in an adult bed, including becoming smothered by a pillow or blanket, being strangled in a bed frame, or becoming wedged between the mattress and the headboard.
If you prefer bed-sharing, a better option for you is to simply put your baby in the same room, but in a separate bed. Just make sure that all products you’re using meet federal safety standards.
Make sure your baby is on their back in the crib
Putting a baby to sleep on his or her back, both during naps and at night, is the most important thing parents and caregivers can do to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. This is because their airway is unobstructed, reducing the risk of choking, drowning, and other hazards. According to research, making a newborn sleep on his or her stomach increases the risk of carbon dioxide buildup and low oxygen levels, causes upper airway blockage and interferes with body heat dissipation, leading to overheating.
Don’t use loose bedding in the crib
Using loose bedding in your baby’s crib not only increases the risk of your baby falling out of the bed, but it can also pose a suffocation risk. Loose bedding, such as blankets, pillows, and quilts, can easily get caught or snagged on your baby’s face, throat, or neck, blocking their airway and causing injury.
A lot of parents also swaddle their newborns because it may help them have a better nap or a good night's sleep. But it’s also important to take the risks of swaddling into consideration. Experts advise that swaddled infants should be placed only on their backs and watched carefully to ensure they don't roll over.
Keep smoke and tobacco out of the room
Smoking is not only dangerous to you and the adults around you, but it harms your baby as well. The smoke from a cigarette and the smoker's exhaled smoke combine to form secondhand smoke. There are more than 50 chemicals in secondhand smoking, and they all have been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer in adults.
Chemicals in second-hand smoke are especially dangerous for infants and young children since their bodies are still developing. Your toddler or infant's health can be negatively impacted by even brief exposure to secondhand smoke. Kids are especially vulnerable to the long-term health effects of secondhand smoke. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at a high risk for SIDS. They may also frequently get respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and other illnesses.
Check on your little one regularly
In the United States, over 3,500 infants perish in their sleep each year. Accidental suffocation or strangulation or SIDS account for the vast majority of these terrible losses. That's why most parents understand the significance of giving their infant the safest sleep environment possible. By adhering to these guidelines, you can lessen the likelihood of SIDS and other sleep-related accidents.
One of the things you can do is check on your baby at regular intervals when they’re asleep. Keep your baby secure and comfortable no matter what their daily sleep schedule looks like. In most cases, a baby's cries can alert their parents to the fact that the baby is awake and in need of attention.
It won't take you long to check on your infant. Make sure your baby's chest is rising and falling and their breathing is consistent. You may feel the need to check on your baby more often if they are ill or acting strangely. As a parent, you should trust your instincts about when it's time to check up on your child.
Although it is essential to provide a secure sleeping setting for your newborn, you should also anticipate sleepless nights and night time feedings just as you would with any other child. Although it may be challenging, parents shouldn't stress too much if their baby has a different sleeping pattern than other infants as long as their child is healthy and content.
Joining a local moms' group or searching for advice online can be great ways to meet other parents who are going through similar situations. And don't be too proud to accept support from other people; raising a child is hard work, and your loved ones will appreciate the chance to bond with your newborn. We're hoping this post sheds light on why safe sleep is crucial from day one.