A seemingly peaceful activity like sleeping can pose some serious hidden threats that all parents must be aware of and prevent by following some basic steps. Here’s a brief rundown of what to do to ensure a safe sleeping environment for your child.
Baby should sleep in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as the parents for the first six to twelve months of life. Never share a sleeping area with your child – be it a bed or a sofa.
A side-sleeping crib is ideal for safety, as it provides baby with a safe space while also allowing for parental supervision and easy access, without having to bend down or get out of bed.
Ensure to use baby mattresses that fit your brand of cot, so there is no risk for the baby to become trapped between the mattress and the side of the cot. Use fitted sheets that can be tucked in firmly, and do not use pillows until the child moves from the cot into a normal bed (usually at 2 to 3 years.)
Starting from birth, sleep baby on the back and never on the tummy or side (many babies can roll from their sides onto their tummies). Put your baby's feet at the bottom of the cot, then cover him so that he cannot wriggle under the bedding.
To cover baby safely, make up the cot so that the bedclothes just come up to the baby's shoulders and the baby's head cannot go down under the bedclothes. Always ensure that baby is sleeping with head and face uncovered and unobstructed.
Wrapping needs to allow babies to breathe easily (adequate chest expansion) and allow their legs to bend at the hips with knees apart - don’t wrap legs straight, and use a light muslin cloth.Babies must not be overdressed under the wrap: a babygro and nappy is enough in warm weather, or a light grow suit in cool weather.
Using a Grobag (baby sleeping bag) may reduce the risk of SIDS: these are made in such a way that the baby cannot slip inside the bag and become completely covered, and they keep baby at a constant body temperature.
Toys and pets can smother a baby: it is best to remove any toys and teddys while a baby sleeps, and ensure that pets cannot climb into the cot or bassinette.
Keep baby smoke free both before birth and after: no-one should smoke in the same room as your baby or child because they also inhale the smoke.
Keep baby’s cot away from hanging cords such as blinds, curtains, or electrical appliances as they could get caught around baby’s neck. Keep heaters and electrical appliances well away from the cot to avoid the risk of overheating, burns and electrocution. Never use electric blankets, hot water bottles or wheat bags on young children.
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