When I was a young mother, the message that we received about keeping our babies safe as they slept was to have them sleep on their stomach. We also used crib bumper pads, small pillows, stuffed animals, and of course soft, fluffy blankets.
A – ALONE! You should never share a bed with a baby nor take a nap on the couch or chair with the baby because you could roll too close or onto your baby, babies can get stuck between the mattress and the wall, headboard, footboard or other furniture or fall off of the bed. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room (within arm’s reach), but not in your bed.
B – BACK! Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to choke than those who sleep on their stomachs. Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. It’s safer for your baby to wake up during the night on his back. If he or she is sleeping on their tummy and needs to take a deep breath they might not be able to move their head and the baby’s mouth or nose could be blocked and they could suffocate.
C – CRIB! Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Sleep clothing like fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers and sleep sacks are safer for a baby than blankets. Many parents think their baby won’t be safe and warm without bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals, but these items can be deadly. Babies can suffocate on any extra item in the crib.
Some other general guidelines for a happy healthy baby:
- Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.
- Try using a pacifier at nap and bed time.
- Give your baby some “tummy time” when he is awake and someone is watching. This helps avoid flat spots on baby’s head and helps develop neck muscles.
- Infants should receive all recommended immunizations.
While much of this information is shared with new mothers and fathers, often a grandma or baby sitter hasn’t heard the new safety recommendations. Be sure and share these guidelines with anyone caring for your baby.
Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Wood County, email@example.com