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Parents and Caregivers have many ways to combat their concerns for SIDS

Safe Sleep Baby

Safe Sleep Baby

(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and sleep related infant deaths.  As research progresses and we get nearer to finding the mechanical cause of sudden death in apparently healthy babies, we have identified many behaviors that parents and caregivers can use that dramatically reduce the likelihood of a sleep related infant death.

Patents can now feel empowered rather than frightened.  Remember to keep your babies safety first.


AAP   Recommendations

1: Back to sleep for every sleep2: Use a firm sleep surface

3: Room sharing without bed-sharing

4: No soft objects, loose bedding in crib

5: Prenatal care for pregnant women

6: Avoid smoke exposure

7: Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use

8: Breastfeeding

9: Pacifiers

10: Avoid overheating

11: Immunizations12: Avoid commercial devices marketed for SIDS reduction

13: No home cardiorespiratory monitors for SIDS reduction

14: Tummy time for awake infant

15: Endorsement of recommendations by providers, nurses, child care

16: Media and manufacturers follow safe sleep guidelines

17: National campaign on reducing all sleep related deaths, focus on minorities

18: Research and surveillance


Tummy Time Tip5The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep and their tummies to play as part of a daily routine. Just a few minutes a day, a few times a day, can help your baby get used to Tummy Time and help prevent early motor delays. If you begin early (even from just a few days old) and maintain a consistent schedule, your baby will learn to love Tummy Time. This helps develop the muscles in their back, neck, and trunk, on their way to meeting all their infant development milestones.

Tummy Time should begin from the time baby is brought home from the hospital. Try these simple tasks:

  • Create a habit of alternating baby’s position (not location) at least every 20 minutes when baby is awake.
  • Carry baby in arms rather than in a car seat.  Sometimes use the “foot ball” hold and carry baby tummy side down.
  • When changing baby’s diaper, flip him over onto his tummy for 30 seconds  to one minute.
  • Place baby on his tummy on your lap to burp or soothe. A hand on his bottom will help to keep him steady.
  • If bottle feeding, alternate arms to create a more natural hold for baby.
  • When you are awake and alert, lie down and place baby on your tummy or chest.  Until baby can lift her head, alternate her head position for her.  Make sure you keep  your hands on baby at all times.
  • Get down on the floor at eye level with baby.  Be sure to position yourself in different locations around baby to encourage head turning.

Babies don’t always like Tummy Time in the beginning because they have no ability to lift their heads.  However, if you are consistent about doing Tummy Time for short periods all throughout the day, every day, baby will learn to love it!

For additional information on Tummy Time activites and Infant development.  See

Safe Sleep14Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) focused their efforts on creating a safe sleep environment for infants.  This year, they continue that effort by focusing on portable play yards.  As of February 28, 2013 all play yards manufactured for sale in the United States must meet mandatory federal safety standard for the first time.

Portable play yards are used by parents, home childcare providers and hotels to provide a safe place for babies to sleep when no full-size crib is available.  Therefore, it is important that portable cribs manufacturing rules be brought into safety compliance also.  The new guidelines will require:

  • Side rails that do not form a sharp V when the product is folded. This prevents a child from strangling in the side rail.
  • Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and to prevent a side-rail collapse.
  • Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent children from getting trapped or hurt.

To ensure that  your baby is in the safest environment possible while left unattended, check that the date of manufacture on your play yard is February  28, 2013 or later.

Thanks to KIDS in Danger and the CPSC for all their hard work in making this new rule.

Tummy Time is important for baby because the amount of time baby spends on their tummy is reduced by back sleeping and car seat usage.  The average baby now misses out on several hours of natural tummy time every day.  The lack of tummy time can result in serious consequences for baby’s development.  Flat head (Plagiocephaly), Wry neck (torticollis) as well as social, emotional and developmental delays can all be linked to a lack of tummy time.  However, all these issues can be avoided by parents and caregivers by giving baby an appropriate amount of snuggle time (carried) and tummy time every day starting from birth.

The key to effective tummy time is consistency.  Every day when baby is awake, alert and supervised, the caregiver can place baby on his or her tummy for small amounts of time.  A newborn baby is recommended to be placed on his or her tummy around 5 times a day for no more than 3 minutes each time.  As baby grows and gains strength and skill, that time should increase until by three months of age, baby is spending an hour a day of awake time on their tummy.

There are several simple ways to integrate tummy time into baby’s day without adding an additional or time consuming routine.

  1. You can place baby on their tummy on your lap for burping.
  2. Place baby on your tummy while lying down so that he or she can look you directly in the eye.
  3. Get down on the floor and put your face at baby’s level.  Place interesting toys all around baby so that she reaches in different directions.

When the baby is on his or her back, it is easy to develop a flat spot on the head because the skull is so soft.  A bald spot on baby’s head is the clearest early warning sign that baby is spending too much time in a certain position.  Altering the position that baby holds their head while on their back will help prevent both flat head syndrome and wry neck; a condition where the neck muscles on one side of the neck shortens and the opposite side lengthens.  The key is to recognize that baby prefers to turn his or her head to look at the parent or the door (where the parent comes in).  Here are a few simple tips:

  1. When diapering, alternate the baby’s head direction for each diaper change.  Then, flip baby over onto their tummy for a moment.
  2. When bottle feeding baby, alternate the arm in which baby is held just like a breastfeeding mother would.
  3. Put baby to in a safe crib on her back for every sleep time, but alternate the orientation of her head between the head of the crib and the foot of the crib.

Perhaps the most important thing that parents and caregivers can do to positively affect baby’s social, emotional and developmental progress is to carry the baby in arms rather than in a car seat.  When baby is held, he or she is getting lots of sensory input, eye contact and bonding in addition to lots of muscle usage.  As a newborn, keep baby’s head, neck and back well supported; but as baby gains skills and develops, you can begin to use a less supporting position.

For more information on tummy time, go to or schedule a Tummy Time workshop from Borchardt Consulting.  If there are concerns about baby’s development, consult your pediatrician.

As a parent, do you feel like you just can’t get it right?  You just can’t keep up with all the changes in child rearing practices?  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually makes a practice of reviewing the safe sleep guidelines every 5  years or so so that their recommendations can keep up with the latest trends and products.

Since the AAP recommended all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep in 1992, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have declined dramatically. But sleep-related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, have increased. In an updated policy statement, the AAP is expanding its guidelines on safe sleep for babies, with additional information for parents on creating a safe environment for their babies to sleep. Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP explains how parents can help their babies sleep safely in a video.

The current recommendations:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
The best thing about these guidelines is that they continue to be easy for parents and caregivers to do.  These guidelines can actually decrease the amount of money that you might spend by reducing the number of products in the baby’s crib.  Remember, that you need to share these guidelines with anyone who cares for your baby.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch is putting through a series of articles about childcare in Missouri and the lax requirements that they have in that state. They and others are working to improve the childcare licensing. Author Nancy Cambia has done extensie research for her articles and has found that in sates with stricter childcare licensing standards and oversight, fewer babies die.

Licensed childcare providers are required to have continuing education hours in order to maintain their licenses. That means they stay current on the latest safety information. It also means that there is a limited number of children in each age category that one provider can care for. All that means that your children are safer in that providers care.

To read more from Nancy Cambria’s series of articles, click:

Along with many partners, we were successful this year in getting the toughest new crib standards passed in the world.  Now, it’s time to turn our attention to portable play yards.  In Illinois, Childcare providers can use portable play yards as an infant crib.  It’s essential that we create the best standards for this piece of equipment as well.  Cribs and play yards are the only place that we leave infants unattended for hours at a time, it’s critical that parents and caregivers know that they have the best, safest piece of equipment available.


Play Yards: What Parents Should Know.

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