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Must Follow : Infant Sleep Safety Tips

4 min read

Babies are at greatest risk for SIDS from the age of 0 – 12 months. Now, what is SIDS? Is it a disease or illness? No, SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a term used for the unexplained and sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant of age 0 to 12 months. SIDS is most likely to happen during night or sleep time during day and it is the most common cause of death among the infants between 1 and 4 months; 90 % of deaths due to SIDS infants younger than 6 months. It is also referred to as “cot death”.
Baby sleeping peacefully

Are Some Babies At A Higher Risk For SIDS?

Certain factors may make your baby at a high risk of SIDS, like:

  • Babies who are born prematurely or low weight are at higher risk of SIDS
  • Not getting proper pre-natal care increases the risk of SIDS in infants
  • Smoking or consuming alcohol during pregnancy and after will increase the risk
  • Pregnancy before the age of 20 is a risk factor too.

However the good news is that the awareness regarding the correct baby sleep positions has reduced the number of SIDS substantially in all countries. What causes sudden death of an infant is not known however it can be avoided by practicing some sleep safety recommendations:

Infant Sleep Safety Recommendations
    • Use a crib for the baby to sleep however keep it near you in the same room, don’t make the baby sleep in different room. Share the same room but not the same bed. Infants should not be sleeping in car seats, pram, swings etc. Never sleep on the sofa with your baby
    • Always put baby to sleep on his or her back, right from the beginning, never on the tummy or sides. They can have supervised tummy times during the day when awake. If someone else also cares for your baby, let them know the correct sleep position as well
    • Do not cover the baby’s face with blanket, sheets etc. Place the baby to sleep on a firm mattress, avoid soft mattresses. This will avoid suffocation when baby is sleeping. Read more about splendid tummy times here
    • Don’t place stuffed toys, pillows, crib bumpers, blankets, sheets in the crib, it might cause suffocation and entrapment to the baby. Ensure the crib you use is not too small

Baby sleeping in a crib

  • Use clothing made specifically for baby sleeping like jumpsuits to avoid the use of blankets and sheets to cover the baby during night, even if you are going to use the blanket make sure that it is a baby size blanket and remains just upto the chest, not above
  • Don’t overheat the baby by dressing him/her in too many layers of clothing. Keep the room temperature as such that feels comfortable to you, keep the baby in the same temperature which is comfortable for adults
  • Do not smoke and consume alcohol during pregnancy and after delivery of child. And don’t allow smoking near the baby, passive smoking can also pose a risk to the baby
  • Breastfeed your child. Researches show that babies who are breastfed, or those who are only breastfed are less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is always recommended to exclusively breastfeed your baby at least for the first six months
Childproof The House Before The Baby Arrives

It will be a good idea to prepare your home for the baby’s safety beforehand. A few tips are given below to help you prepare for the arrival of your baby.

  • Prepare a first aid kit for the baby. You may include thermometer, paracetamol drops, bandages, nail cutter, electrolytes, rash cream in the first aid kit for the newly born baby
  • Keep emergency contact numbers like hospital emergency as well ambulance and contact numbers of your family members handy
  • Join an infant CPR class
  • Keep a sturdy bed side table in the room to keep baby stuff like wipes, bottles, diapers, towels etc or alternatively you can purchase a crib that has a built in side table
  • Ensure that the crib is not placed below the window or the cupboards or shelves where something may fall into the crib.
  • Before you buy the crib for the baby:
    • Ensure the mattress is firm, it is advisable to buy a foam mattress which will fit snuggly into the crib
    • Ensure there are no sharp edges on the crib
    • Buy one with adjustable mattress height to enable you to adjust according to the baby’s age and your convenience

Baby sleeping soundly

Why Is It Necessary To Follow Infant Sleep Safety Tips?

Creating a sleep safe environment for your baby will reduce the risk of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It is important to follow the sleep safety and childproofing guidelines because nothing is important than the safety of the child. Your home should be as safe a place for your new born as it was inside your womb. Ensure that you make your home baby friendly in every way possible before you welcome your little one home. Read more about SIDS here

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