Is Your Baby Sleeping Safely?

We all want our babies to take their first steps toward a bright future. Helping them sleep safely is a big step we can take to make that happen. Babies die while they are sleeping every week here in Louisiana. Sometimes, it’s from accidental suffocation. Sometimes there isn’t an explanation, as in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases. The good news is, you CAN reduce the risk of suffocation, and you CAN reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Doctors and nurses recommend a SAFE SLEEP CHECKLIST, and Louisiana families are putting it into action. Do your best to follow these guidelines – that way you know you will be doing all you can to keep your baby healthy and safe.

Steps to Safe Sleep

These steps aren’t always as simple as they sound. Talk to a doctor or nurse for help.  Not sure about a step? Find out why each one matters.

Steps to Safe Sleep!
  • Parents sometimes worry about babies choking while sleeping on their backs. Sometimes they put things in the bed to keep the baby on his or her side, or they think that stomach sleeping must be safer. But babies sleeping on their backs are actually less likely to choke on their spit up. They may be able to clear fluids better in this position because of the way the body is built. Parents are not putting the baby in danger when they lay her on her back to sleep – in fact, they are making a choice to protect her!
  • We tend to move around when we sleep at every age. When babies sleep with an adult or another child, that person could accidently roll over and suffocate the baby. Or, a baby can get stuck or wedged between the bed and the wall, furniture or other objects.
  • When babies sleep with soft stuffed animals, blankets, pillows or on soft surfaces like couches and quilts, they can suffocate. Babies can’t push things away from their faces.
  • Experts have found that having babies sleep in their parents’ room on a separate surface (e.g. not in the bed) may cut the risk of sleep-related death by half.
  • Babies can easily get tangled in cords and choke.
  • When babies sleep with an adult or another child, that person could accidentally roll over and suffocate the baby. Or, a baby can get stuck and wedged between the bed the wall, furniture or other objects.
  • Smoking during pregnancy and smoking where a baby lives and sleeps greatly increases their risk of SIDS.
  • Being hot is not comfortable for babies - and it can be risky. Under most conditions, a baby can sleep comfortably in a onesie. If it gets cold out, just dress them in an infant sleep sack.
  • Breastfeeding is proven to reduce babies’ risk of SIDS by 50%. Plus, breastfeeding has a lot of other great health benefits for moms and babies.
  • These devices are not made to hold a baby’s head in a safe position and the baby’s head could fall forward, constricting their airway. A sleeping baby shouldn’t be left in them too long.
  • If the swaddle is too tight, it may be hard for your baby to breathe or move their hips. Swaddled babies can’t use their arms to get into different positions or lift their neck and head. Once your baby begins to roll, you should stop swaddling, because your baby could roll over and get stuck in a position that restricts their breathing. Click here for more information
  • It’s important that everyone who is a part of your baby’s life knows the steps to keep your baby safe while sleeping. Having a written safe sleep policy gets everyone on the same page, and lets you know if a daycare is providing care for your baby in the ways you’d like.

Try to check off as many items as possible!

Share these important safety tips with EVERYONE you know who cares for and about babies! Download and print the checklist here.

I Can’t Follow All the Steps to Safe Sleep – What Now?

The safest way for your baby to sleep is by following the steps on the safe sleep checklist. If you can’t follow all the steps, click here to learn what you can do to lower your baby’s risk of sleep-related death.

What to Do When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying

Babies cry as a way to communicate with us and sometimes we can’t figure out why they are crying or fussy. Their cry can mean many things, but you, and anyone who cares for your baby should know: it’s not personal. Click here to learn some common reasons babies cry and suggested soothing tips.

Additional Tips

BEFORE baby is born: prepare his safe sleeping place, don’t smoke, and make sure to keep up with your prenatal visits.

AFTER baby is born, take your baby for well-baby checkups, keep up with recommended immunizations, and give your baby “tummy time” when the baby is awake and you are watching. You may also want to use a pacifier at naptime and bedtime after you’ve gotten the hang of breastfeeding.