There’s nothing more calming than to watch your little one sleep. But your baby may be at risk while she is asleep. Safety while sleeping was not too much of a concern earlier, but with SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, ways have been found to keep your little one safe while she sleeps.
What is SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?
SIDS is a condition where babies stop breathing while they are asleep, which may turn fatal.
Prominent in babies under 6 months of age: Babies under 6 months are at a higher risk of SIDS, but the risk may continue till 12 months.
Occurs mostly when babies are laid down on their stomachs: When babies are laid down on their tummies, it blocks their nasal passage, making it difficult for them to breath. Babies so young are either incapable of rolling over on to their backs, or have not yet developed the sense to do so.
Overheating is also a risk: Overheating is not restricted to summers. It can happen in winter as well. If your little one is covered with too many warm blankets and sheets, it may suffocate her.
Soft bedding is a high risk: Soft mattresses, pillows, cushions and blankets restrict the flow of air and may cause babies to suffocate if they get trapped between them.
Gaps are dangerous: Your little one is at a risk of falling if there is a gap between the bed and the wall. Also, if there are gaps between mattresses babies may roll over in to them and suffocate.
Preventive measures during co-sleeping.
Your little one is at her comfortable best when she sleeps next to you. However there are a few risks that you need to take care of. Take a couple of measures and ensure she is safe, comfortable and happy while she sleeps.
Use a firm mattress: Make sure the mattress you and your little one is sleeping on is firm, because soft bedding is a bane to abundant air flow. Also it’s better for you and your baby’s back posture as well.
Do not use too many sheets and blankets: Keep the bedding to the necessary minimum. You don’t want too many sheets and blankets to cause overheating.
Lay her at the right place: Lay your little one between you and your partner.
Don’t smoke near her: If one of the parents smokes or drinks, it is advisable that the baby does not sleep next to him/her. Never put your baby to sleep next to an adult who smokes or drinks alcohol.
Do not leave gaps between two mattresses: Invest in a single large mattress and remove your fears of your little one rolling in to the gap between two mattresses.
Do not leave gaps between the bed and the wall: If you cannot help the gap between the bed and the wall, fill it up with a cotton sheet firmly.
Check her body temperature: Check intermittently to see if her temperature has gone up. It may be due to overheating. If she does not have fever, you need to take off a few pieces of her clothing and remove some of the sheets to cool her body down.
Do not let your little one sleep on her stomach: Do not lay your baby on her stomach. If you find her rolled over on to her stomach during her sleep, turn her on to her back.
Preventive measures when she is sleeping in her cot.
Putting your little one to sleep in her cot is safer for her than sleeping next to an adult, even if the adult is you. You cut down on risks of her being rolled over on to, pushed to the wall or to the edge of the bed. Also the risk of suffocation is minimum. However, you still need to look out for a few measures when you put her in her cot.
Height of the cot is same as your bed: When your little one’s cot and your bed are at the same height, it’s more convenient for you to reach out to her if there’s need to do so at any time.
Ensure the cot mattress is firm: Make sure the mattress your little one sleeps on is firm enough to facilitate maximum circulation of air.
Use only one cotton sheet to cover the mattress and tuck it in firm and tight: Don’t leave around any extra sheets in the cot for your little one to get entangled in.
Don’t leave any loose sheet, blanket or comforter in the cot: When your little one sleeps inside her cot, don’t leave around any extra blankets or comforters. They can restrict air flow and cause suffocation.
She doesn’t need cushions or pillows: Cushions and pillows are more of a hazard for your baby. It’s best to avoid, as she does not need pillows at this age.
Do not leave soft toys or any other toys in the cot: When your little one sleeps, she does not need her toys. They can end up being more of a danger for her. Let her have them only when she is awake, and even then their use should not be unsupervised.
Remove extra padding from the cot to facilitate air flow: Retain only the padding that is necessary to keep her from getting hurt. Remove the rest, if any.
Make sure her body temperature is normal: Check on your little one a couple of times while she sleeps to make sure her temperature has not shot up due to overheating or she has not rolled over on to her stomach.
Give your little one a lot of tummy time when she is awake: This is going to teach her how to breath while she is awake.
It gets safer when she is able to raise her head and turn her head completely side-to-side: Once her head acquires more mobility, your little one is going to be able to breath more easily on her stomach.
Teach your little one to roll over from tummy to back: As soon as she learns this you can breathe easier, because when breathing gets difficult for her on her tummy, she is going to naturally turn over on her back.
Keep checking on her till she turns one: When she turns a year old, you can sleep easier, because by now she knows the skills for comfortable breathing during her sleep.
It can be unnerving to think that your little one is not safe while she sleeps. But you can zero down the risks and ensure that you and your baby sleep worriless and happy every day and every night. Follow the preventive measures and precautions and ensure both of you have a peaceful and sound sleep.