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Friday, October 19, 2012

Safe Sleep Tips for Parents

These tips have been adapted from information available at the following websites:

or First Candle

For more information on these topics, please consult the above links or contact Brentwood Fire and Rescue at (615) 371-0170.

Safe Sleep Tips for Parents

Are you prepared for fall? As the weather cools, sleep related deaths of infants increases. 

Follow the ABC’s of safe sleep to help keep your little ones safer:

A-     Alone. This means in a simple environment without blankets, bumpers, loose bedding, or other people and animals.

B-      On his or her back. Babies placed to sleep on their side or stomachs are at much greater risk. Babies that are used to sleeping on their back but placed on the tummy are at an increased risk; even a single instance can be fatal. This is why it is important to ensure that all caregivers follow safe sleep recommendations.

C-      In a crib. This can be any safe sleeping environment other than the adult bed, such as a pack n’ play or bassinet.

Here are a few situations that are often brought up that you may be curious about:

1)     “My child was placed on his tummy in the NICU. Is back still best?” When in doubt talk to a pediatrician. However, typically babies are placed on their tummy in the NICU for medical reasons that should be resolved prior to your baby being released, unless specifically stated for a special needs child. Call and ask for medical advice, premature infants are actually at an increased risk for sleep related deaths.


2)     “My child has reflux and I am afraid of him choking, are you sure back is best?” Unfortunately babies can still die from aspirating spit up when placed on their stomachs. Often the cause of reflux (anatomical etc.) is important in determining the best course of action, please refer to your pediatrician.


3)     “How can I keep my child warm?” Footed pajamas and sleep sacks work well to keep your child warm without the added risk of blankets. Even light blankets used for swaddling can be replaced with a swaddle sleep sack.


4)     “I practice attachment parenting and cosleeping is a large part of that”. Attachment parenting can easily be accomplished by placing the crib next to the bed and wearing the baby in a safe carrier during the day. Most parents are not willing to sleep on a mattress close to the ground, remove all blankets/sheets, and banish all pillows. In addition to these measures, most adults sleep on a softer mattress or have memory foam pads. The mattress or pad can form around the baby’s mouth if they roll over. Often a crack is present between the headboard or wall and the mattress, creating a dangerous situation for entrapment. And finally, in the end you are still placing a child with adults who are not conscious and can roll against a child.


5)     “A parent will wake up if something is wrong.” Although this would be nice, many parents on infant loss support boards would disagree. The best option is to create the safest possible environment, do not rely on ‘intuition’ or monitors to protect your child.

Often new parents may receive information that is outdated by other parents. Safety recommendations can change rapidly in a few years. Even if you have attended a parenting class before, talk to your pediatrician or childbirth educator about current recommendations. If you have not taken CPR lately, a good course that includes infants and children is highly recommended.