Borchardt Consulting

Let’s Review

Posted on: August 12, 2011

In light of the rash of recent crib recalls, I am compelled to re-visit what you need to know about infant safe sleep if you are the parent of a newborn or have a new baby in your life.

The day you have waited for has arrived!  Finally!  You are getting ready to leave the hospital with your new baby to go home and begin this new phase of your life.  Diapers? Check.  Cute homecoming outfit?  Check.  Car Seat installed properly?  Check.  OK, ready to go.  But are you really?  Have you been given written and verbal instructions on Safe Sleep for your baby to help reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and prevent accidental deaths due to suffocation, overlay and asphyxia.  Beginning January 1, 2011, all hospitals in Illinois will be required to provide written and verbal instruction on the safest way for your baby to sleep prior to you and your infant being released from the hospital.  These safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are considered best practices.

  • Back to Sleep: Baby should be placed on his/her back for every sleep time; this includes nap time and night time.   Side sleeping is not a viable alternative for back sleeping because the side position is too unstable and baby could roll to tummy.
  • The safest place for baby to sleep is alone in a safe crib (make sure all nuts, bolts, screws etc. are tight and that crib is secure).  Mattress needs to be firm and fit snugly in crib.  The sheet must fit securely and be made for a crib mattress.  Never use a sheet from an adult bed – baby can get tangled and suffocate or strangle.
  • Do not have any soft items in crib with baby.  This includes bumper pads, stuffed animals, quilts, blankets or soft toys.  Blanket-free sleeping is the safest.  Dress baby in sleeper then use a sleep sack.
  • A separate but proximate sleeping environment is recommended such as having crib in parent’s room.  Bed-sharing during sleep is NOT recommended.  In Illinois, we are seeing a decrease in true SIDS deaths, but accidental sleep related infant deaths are on the rise due to unsafe sleep settings.
  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant and do not allow anyone to smoke around baby – ever.  Exposure to cigarette smoke has proven to increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding is best for your baby!  It is like special medicine only YOU can give your baby.  If you bring your baby to bed to nurse, make sure to put him/her back in the safe crib before you go back to sleep.
  • Tummy to Play: Baby needs to have quality tummy time every day for proper development and to prevent a flat spot on baby’s head.  Always supervise baby while he/she is on their tummies.

Make a list for yourself with the name, model number, date and location of purchase for all of your big items (crib, portable play yard, swing, stroller, car seat, etc.) and make it a habit to check www.recall.gov at least once a month to make sure none of the items you own have been recalled.

While researchers still do not know what causes SIDS, they do know that by following the safe sleep guidelines, you can reduce the risk of SIDS and also prevent accidental sleep related deaths.  Keep in mind, that there are many items you can purchase in stores and online that may say that they “prevent” SIDS.  Although various devices have been developed to maintain sleep position or reduce the risk of re-breathing, none have been tested sufficiently to show efficacy or safety.  Just because they sell it, doesn’t automatically mean it is safe.

Ultimately, as the parent(s), you get to choose how and where your new baby will sleep.  By educating yourself and anyone who will be caring for your baby on the safe sleep guidelines, you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your family.

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