Safe Sleep Environment For Babies – What is it and How to Create

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Safe Sleep Environment For Babies

A safe sleep environment is pivotal for babies and providing safe sleep environment for babies leads to their physical and emotional well-being. Following a good sleep schedule and sleep training your baby from the initial months of their life leads to good sleep hygiene in their growing months and years. Apart from that, you must also provide them a safe space to sleep.

Your baby is a helpless little being and doesn’t have a lot of control over their surroundings. They may not be able to express if they are feeling uncomfortable or are having difficulty breathing. Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is an explained phenomenon that is most common in babies below the age of 6 months and can occur in babies below one year of age. Babies may experience other injuries too if they do not have a safe and proper sleeping environment.

In This Article

What is a Safe Sleep Environment For Babies?

A safe sleep environment means a baby has a safe place to sleep where no potential dangers exist. Wherever a baby sleeps, whether day or night, the environment should be absolutely safe with no objects that can obstruct their breathing or cause strangulation.

A safe sleep environment constitutes

  • A flat and firm sleeping surface with no objects that can cause choking.
  • A crib or cot that prevents that baby from accidental falls.
  • The right sized sleeping surface for the age.
  • Ideal temperature maintenance – not too hot or cold.
  • Comfortable clothing that allow for proper breathing.
  • Presence of parents or caregivers nearby.
  • Room sharing with your baby
  • Ensuring that the baby is always lying on their back

Things that should be avoided include

  • Leaving the baby unattended on an adult bed or any other kind of bed.
  • Co-sleeping with the baby
  • Letting the baby sleep while in a sitting position
  • Placing the baby on a waterbed, cushion, couch, pillow or with an adult sleeping on a chair, sofa etc.
  • Using weighted blankets or sleep sacks for your baby
  • Positioning the baby’s sleeping area in proximity to electrical appliances like a room heater, or any other things like curtains, blinds etc. It is important to avoid placing things like hot water bags, electric blankets etc. near to the baby’s bed.
  • Placing baby in swings meant for swinging which can cause babies to sleep in a slumped position which can cause suffocation to them.

How Can I Create a Safe Sleep Environment For My Baby?

how Create a Safe Sleep Environment For My Baby

Bases on NICHD, the following factors can make your baby’s sleep environment safe for them and prevent accidental injuries and deaths.

1. Firm Sleeping Surface

Your baby must sleep on a firm sleeping surface whether it is on your bed (if you are co-sleeping) or on in their own crib. Ensure that you cover this sleeping surface with a firm fitted sheet which doesn’t come out tangled and may pose risk to your baby.

2. No to Blankets and Pillows

Babies do not need blankets and pillows. These actually can pose dangers to your baby. You can use a baby swaddle for babies less that 2 months old and age and size-appropriate sleep sacks for babies between 2 to 6 months of age. Lightweight certified blankets can be used once your babies cross 6 months of age but use them only when as and when needed.

[Read : When Can Your Baby Sleep With a Blanket?]

3. Layered Clothes For Comfort

If the weather is chilly, you can add an extra layer of clothing (avoid a layer if using sleep sacks) to keep your baby warm. When layering ensure that your baby is not overpacked with clothing as overheating is unsafe.

4. Room Sharing

Let the baby sleep in the same room as you. This will let you know immediately if you baby is feeling uncomfortable or is in any kind of distress.

5. Clutter-Free Crib

Keep your baby’s crib or sleeping surface free of toys, blankets, pillows, loose accessories, anything that can create a choking risk. Your baby’s sleeping surface should be completely empty.

6. No Smoking

Avoid smoking around the baby, no exceptions.

7. No Covering Baby’s Head

Your baby’s head should have nothing over it. ensure that your baby is able to breathe properly

8. Sleep Surfaces to Avoid

Never put your baby sleep in a sofa, armchair or any surface from where they can easily turn and fall or hurt themselves

Where Should My Baby Sleep?

It is safe to keep your baby in the same room with you for the first six months, both day and night. Do not share a bed with your baby but keep their crib in the same room where you sleep. This can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).

Babies during a few months after their birth sleep in the arms of their parents. You may also see your baby sleeping only when you carry them in your arms.

As your baby grows, you should start with the habit of making them sleep without you comforting them.

You can keep them down in the cot after finishing feeding and let them sleep on their own. It gets easier once your baby stays alert for longer.

[Read : Sleep Training a Baby]

Unsafe Sleep Products For Babies

swing- Unsafe Sleep Products For Babies

The most dangerous products that you should completely avoid are:

1. Swings

Swings are not dangerous when your baby is awake. But if your baby falls asleep on it, then it gets dangerous.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or sling, you should move him or her to a firm sleeping surface on his or her back as soon as possible.”

Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on the swing before using it. Also, have watchful eyes on your baby when you put them in a swing. The swing is better to use for recreational purposes.

[Read : Letting Your Baby Sleep In A Swing – Is It Safe?]

2. Baby Rockers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price urged parents not to let babies fall asleep in rockers as at least 13 reported deaths took place between 2009 and 2021.

Rockers are an inclined product and are not safe for infants to sleep. Only a firm, flat surface is safe for babies to sleep.

Multiple deaths took place as parents or caregivers were not aware of the dangers these products can cause.

3. Inclined Sleepers

Sleep products for babies should not be inclined more than 10 degrees. Inclined sleepers, though, are soft but allow babies to sleep at a 30-degree angle. This may pose a threat to babies as they may fall in a chin-to-chest position. There is also a higher chance of rolling out of the sleepers and getting trapped in them.

A safe sleep environment for babies is important to ensure the safety of the child and reduce the risk of SIDS. Products that are unsafe for babies should be avoided. Safe sleeping places for babies are cribs, bassinets or play yards without blankets, pillows or other items.

Remove your sleeping baby from any potentially dangerous sleeping arrangements (such as swings, rocking chairs, reclined seats, inclined sleepers, bouncers, etc.). As parents, you need to take extra precautions as far as baby products are concerned.

Read Also: Baby Safety – Crib and Baby Bed Safety Tips by Dr Chetan Ginigeri

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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