3/4/10

Safety In Mind


Sometimes babies are put in unsafe situations while sleeping. This may be intentional or unintentional. If it is intentional because you are trying to help baby sleep better and longer, try to keep in mind that safety is always more important than sleep (although if you are extremely sleep deprived this is hard to keep in mind). If it is unintentional, then
education can go a long way.

Here are some tips to help your baby sleep safely. This information is from all the books listed on this blog as well as other sites like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This is not an all inclusive list. Keep in mind that safety recommendations change so be sure you get the most recent up to date information. Your pediatrician should be able to help you with this:
  • Once baby can pull himself to a standing position, lower the crib to the lowest position.
  • Change the position of baby's head when you put him to sleep to reduce the chance of a flat head. Try to not have baby lie on his back too much during his awake time. Having baby lie on his tummy during some of wake time will encourage head control/movement and physical development. There are some devices you can buy that help reduce a flat head like the Boppy Noggin
  • Dress your child in flame resistant, tight-fitting clothing for sleep.
  • Make sure other people that tend baby keep to the same safety guidelines that you follow.
  • Do not leave baby on a sofa or other surface that he might roll off of.
  • Avoid having your child use a pillow until 2 years of age since they can easily smother. They actually don't even need one until quite a while after this.
  • Never leave your child asleep by himself in the car because you are worried he might wake up when you try to move him. Remember, safety before sleep.
  • Don't hang something over baby's crib since it can fall on him, even if he can't reach it. In fact, just the other day my sister heard a loud crash in her bedroom and the huge picture over her bed had fallen down and there was glass all over her bed and room.
  • Keep baby's environment clean, especially during the first few months. Wash your hands often.
  • Keep electrical items away from baby.
  • Do not have baby sleep near a window with cords or curtains. In fact, don't have him sleep near anything with cords, even a baby monitor.
  • Never leave a baby unmonitored with a young child.
  • Keep all well baby visits and call your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby. Babies under three months are especially susceptible to illness so any fever at this age needs to be taken seriously.
  • If you are loosing your cool with your baby, put him in a safe place and take a break. If you are starting to feel depressed or overwhelmed, seek help.
  • Always securely strap your baby into a car seat, bouncer or swing. Never just do the upper straps on a car seat since this has been known to strangle babies.
  • Do not tie strings (like a pacifier string) to a baby since it could get wrapped around his neck or an extremity.
  • Never leave a baby with an animal unattended.
  • Make sure you know how to do CPR.
  • See SIDS post for tips on how to reduce the risk of SIDS. Also see the post about the AAP reccomendations.

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