September is Baby Safety Month so it is a good time for parents to focus on making sure they are doing all they can to keep their babies safe and protected. Since babies sleep so much as infants, it’s important to know the potential dangers and what you can do as a parent to make sure your baby is safe while sleeping. As a mom of five, 20-year nurse, baby sleep expert, and of course as the inventor of the Woombie baby swaddle, here are five tips on baby sleep safety:
1. Keep Crib Empty
It’s important to keep cribs empty of all items such as pillows, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals. All of these items pose suffocation hazards to babies. Any loose fabric or soft cushions can unravel and block baby’s nose and mouth. Fighting for air or becoming overheated from too many blankets may be linked to SIDS.
2. Safe Swaddling
Swaddling can be very beneficial for baby as it mimics touch and recreates the confinement felt in the womb. It also helps maintain the “back is best” sleep position and promotes good sleeping patterns. However, traditional swaddling blankets pose the risk of wrapping babies too tightly and reducing necessary movement in the hips causing hip dysplasia. Thick blankets or too many layers can cause overheating, and strong babies can break out of traditional swaddling blankets which can unravel and cover baby’s face.
Choose a safer option like the Woombie, a baby swaddle that requires no wrapping and is designed to gently hug baby while allowing for natural movement. The Woombie Air is a breathable swaddle that allows for excess body heat to escape making it the first ventilated swaddle.
3. Put Baby on Their Back
Make sure that you always place baby on his/her back when you are putting your little one down for the night or for a daytime nap. This is the best sleep position for babies because babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs are at a higher risk for SIDS. The reason for this is uncertain but there have been findings that suggest that infants who sleep on their stomachs get less oxygen or re-breathe their own carbon monoxide, or “bad air”. It is important to keep putting baby down on his back throughout the first year of life.
4. Monitor Your Baby
Having a baby monitor in the room with your baby allows parents to keep an eye or ear on their baby from another room. Monitors give you the ability to listen to your baby and check on them without disturbing their sleep. They help you to identify whether or not baby needs your attention and can provide parents with reassurance that baby is sleeping safe and sound.
5. Keep baby at a comfortable temperature.
You don’t want baby to get too warm while sleeping so it’s best to keep them somewhere that’s room-temperature and don’t excessively clothe them. It has been suggested that babies who get too warm go into a deeper sleep making it more difficult for them to awaken. KidsHealth.org suggests keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt.
First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival, says, “When a healthy baby becomes overheated their brain recognizes the problem and attempts to correct it. When a baby predisposed to SIDS overheats, nothing happens to correct the situation.”
6. Place baby on a firm sleep surface.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” and while cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of deaths. It’s important to use a safety-approved, firm mattress covered with a fitted sheet and avoid placing baby on a pillow, waterbed, couch, chair or other soft surface. This can help prevent smothering or suffocation. You can check the safety of your baby’s mattress or crib by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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