Newborns may sleep up to 16 hours each day as they adjust to life outside the womb. Parents and other caregivers can help reduce the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by placing infants on their backs in safe sleeping environments.
The greatest risks to an infant occur when you place the infant on his or her stomach on soft bedding, a regular mattress or waterbed. Suffocation can also occur when infants become wedged in the space between the mattress and other objects, such as a headboard or wall.
Parents should always put infants in a crib or bassinette that meets current safety standards. For more information about features of a safe crib, see Time for a New Crib.
The Dangers of Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping is common in non-Western cultures, but it is somewhat controversial in the United States. Breastfed babies who co-sleep get more sleep during the night, and mothers will find sleeping and feeding easier.
To reduce the risk of rolling over on an infant during sleep, recommendations suggest it is acceptable for breastfeeding mothers to bring their infants to the bed to nurse at night but should always return infants to a protected space for sleep.
SIDS can be avoided by following safe-sleep guidelines. These include:
- Infants should always be placed on their backs to sleep.
- Armchairs, couches or adult beds are not safe places for infant sleep.
- Infants should not share cribs or bassinettes with other infants or children especially toddlers.
- Infants' heads should be uncovered for sleep.
- Plush items, such as pillows, toys and blankets should not be in an infant's bed.
|Time for a New Crib
Despite the popularity and widespread use of cribs that allow one side to drop to ease the transfer of infants into or out of the crib, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned the cribs to prevent future deaths and injuries caused by faulty hardware. The ban follows safety recalls of millions of cribs to protect infants' safety.
Infants should be dressed warmly enough to sleep without a blanket, according to the temperature of the room. Parents should practice other measures to help keep their infants safe while in a crib:
- Avoid crib extras hazardous to infants, such as decorative bumpers or loose blankets.
- Choose only a firm mattress fitted with a snug sheet that has no gaps between the mattress and slats of the crib.
- Ensure cords from window shades or other window coverings cannot be reached from the crib.
- Remove mobiles with strings or ribbons to limit the risk of strangulation at age 5 months or when infants can push up, whichever comes first.
- Use cribs with fixed sides and slats no more than the width of a soda can-2 3/8 inches-apart.
This article, provided by My Health Publisher, can be viewed here.