Your infant spends a lot of time sleeping in their first few months of life, but how do you know if your baby is sleeping safely? Sleep is an important part of their brain development and good sleep can ward off health problems as they grow.
A baby can sleep for as much as 16 hours of the day. During this time, they are developing their sleep pattern for life and often are dreaming which increases brain activity. While you will notice that you have a cranky infant if they don’t get enough sleep, making sure they are safe when they sleep is equaling as important.
Safe Sleep For Your Infant
Ensuring your baby is safe when they sleep comes down to you as a parent. How you put them to bed, their crib environment, and their sleeping position all help in making sure your baby is safe when they are sleeping.
Unsafe sleep can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cause suffocation and choking in the crib. Incorporating safe sleep for a baby is a matter of understanding what can harm your infant during their slumber and what you as a parent can do to protect them.
If you notice that your infant is having trouble sleeping or you are concerned about what is safe for your baby when they sleep, consider having baby physical therapy to enhance their sleep patterns.
Here are some steps you can take as a parent to ensure your baby is safe when they are sleeping:
- Place your infant on their back: Placing your infant flat on their back in their crib can ensure they are comfortable when they are sleeping as well as to help to avoid SIDS. This position is the safest for infants as they will be able to breathe easily and won’t have any obstructions in their way.
- Use a fitted sheet: Inside the crib there are dangers that can suffocate your baby. Using a fitted sheet that is designed for your crib is the safest way to ensure that it won’t come lose while your infant is sleeping. A tangled sheet can mean problems for your infant and affect how safe your baby sleeps.
- Avoid bed sharing: You may be tempted to sleep with your infant as you can keep an eye on them and also provide them comfort. This is the leading cause of death in infants as they are smothered during the night and don’t have a clear airway to breath. Keep your baby in their own crib and ensure there is nothing in the crib that can create a suffocation hazard.
- Separate multiples: If you have multiple infants such as twins, you may want to keep them together, but the safest way for a baby to sleep well is if they have their own space. Each baby should have their own crib and spend time sleeping alone in it.
- Find a safe crib: It may be nice to get a handed-down crib or a family heirloom to use but these most likely aren’t up to the latest safety standards. You should always use a crib that is safety certified with rails that don’t drop down. This will give you peace of mind as well as make sure your baby is safe when sleeping.
- Keep the crib clear: Your infant will sleep just fine without their favorite toy or blanket. These can pose choking or suffocation hazards when your baby is sleeping and should be avoided. The best way to keep your baby safe is to remove all objects from the crib to give your infant an open space that won’t have any obstructions when they are sleeping.
- Avoid carriers, car seats, and strollers: While you may feel guilty removing your baby when they are already asleep in a carrier, car seat or stroller, these too can pose a suffocation hazard to a baby as they are sleeping. It is best to move them to their crib where they will have the best sleep without any dangers present.
- Keep cords clear: While your infant may be too young to reach out, it is still a good idea to make sure all electrical wires and window cords are away from their crib area. This is a serious threat to an infant and can choke them without warning.
As your baby grows, over the next four to six months they will begin to develop a normal sleep pattern. Keeping them safe while they sleep is imperative to their health and wellbeing. Infant sleep issues can be rectified through baby physical therapy. Early Developmental Therapy Consultants is here to help you resolve the sleep issues your baby is having. Its baby physical therapist can evaluate and work with your infant to determine the best course of action when it comes to promoting safe and healthy sleep.