In the early 90s, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced a groundbreaking study. It demonstrated that when babies were put on their backs to sleep, with nothing else in the crib, instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) were reduced by more than 50 percent. This revolutionized safe sleep. They found that infants were sleeping too well on their bellies, and not experiencing normal arousal patterns.
This information is vital for all parents, but Hoosiers in particular. Infant mortality is a big problem in our state, specifically in Allen County where we have zip codes with a rate as high as 20 out of 1,000 babies who don’t make it to their first birthday.
The ABCs of safe sleep.
When putting your little one down for a nap or at night, it’s important to remember the ABCs:
A - ALL by themselves
B – On their BACK
C – In the CRIB
Although they’re adorable aesthetically, pediatricians recommend avoiding all crib bumpers, blankets and stuffed animals. Your baby should be the only cute thing in the crib. While there are a lot of options, when choosing a crib, you want a flat, firm surface.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies room in with parents to reduce the risk of SIDS. This means the baby is in a bassinet or crib in the parents’ room, not in the bed with the parents. The practice of sleeping with your baby should be avoided due to the risk of suffocation.
To swaddle or not to swaddle?
Swaddles are a wonderful way to help soothe your baby because It helps mimic the environment they had in your womb. This is a safe option until your baby starts to roll over. Once they cue they might start moving more at night, i.e. rolling side to side, discontinue swaddling.
A few words about car seat sleeping.
If your baby sleeps in his/her car seat while in the car, that’s fine because the baby’s head is inclined. At home, however, it is best and safest to put your little one in their crib.
Other steps to prevent SIDS.
In addition to these safe sleep measures, parents can do the following to reduce the risk of SIDS:
- Introduce a pacifier once breast feeding is established, which is proven to heighten arousal during sleep.
- Quit smoking!
- Try breastfeeding. It’s a personal choice, but we encourage all moms to breastfeed if they can.