Sleep Safety

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Most people don't think about the dangers of sleeping. But for babies it can be one of the most dangerous times of their life - especially if their parents are not educated on the proper sleeping positions, suffocation risks, and other perils in the crib. Parents want their children to be safe, and sometimes take advice from well-meaning family and friends who haven't read the most up-to-date information regarding sleeping safety and children.

Even this information can become out of date. Always check with the National Institute of Health for the most updated safety precautions you can take for your child's safe sleep. http://www.nih.gov/

The baby's bed should have no bumpers, pillows, blankets or toys inside it while the baby is sleeping. On colder nights put baby in pajamas with feet so that he'll be warm. Babies who die in their crib typically die of suffocation from one of these items. Babies will pull anything they can touch into their mouths and suck on it. A baby has very powerful sucking and can choke and suffocate himself easily with the right materials.

Place babies to sleep on their back. You can swaddle an infant that doesn't roll over yet tightly in a receiving blanket, as long as it cannot be rolled off or come off from natural movements of the baby. The surface of the baby's bed should be firm so that if the baby does turn over, they can still catch their breath and the material doesn't block their mouth and nose.

The best location for your baby's crib until at least six to 12 months of age is in your room so that your baby is nearby. It's going to be more convenient anyway for the multiple times during the night you'll need to get up to feed them. If the crib is within arm's distance, all the better. But don't let your baby sleep with you unless you purchase an approved co-sleeping device that fits on the side of your bed.

In addition, do not smoke around your baby. Smoking in the home has been shown to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and it's just not worth it. If you're nursing, stop smoking. If you are not nursing, go outside to smoke away from the children. It's just not worth the consequences. Also, never put a pacifier or binky on a string if you choose to give one to your child.

As your child gets older you can allow them to have a blanket and a pillow, but only after 14 to 16 months of age. Ensure that the pillow and blanket are light weight. If your child is cold, dress them warmer and turn the heat up. Once your child moves to a toddler bed, you can use normal blankets and pillows, but do use a protective and approved railing to keep your toddler from falling.

Once your child moves to their own room, and their own "grown up" bed, it's time to start teaching children about fire safety and getting out of the house safely. This can start as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

Sleep Safety

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