It has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants be placed to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib death. SIDS is defined as the sudden and unexplained death of a baby less than 1 year of age. There are some things that you can do to make your baby safer according to the AAP:
- The baby should always be placed on his or her back to sleep, even for naps. This is the safest sleep position to reduce the risk of SIDS for a healthy baby. You can place your baby on a firm mattress, for example – in a safety-approved crib. It has been shown through research that placing a baby to sleep on soft mattresses, sofas, sofa cushions, waterbeds, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces raises the risk of SIDS.
- It is advisable to remove soft, fluffy, and loose bedding and stuffed toys from your baby’s sleep area. You should make sure to keep all pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, and other soft items away from the baby’s sleep area.
- Everyone who cares for your baby should know to place your baby on his or her back to sleep and about the dangers of soft bedding. You can make sure of this by talking to child care providers, grandparents, babysitters, and all caregivers about SIDS risk. Every sleep time counts.
- Your baby’s face and head should stay uncovered during sleep. Blankets and other coverings should be kept away from your baby’s mouth and nose. Dressing the baby in sleep clothing is the best way so no other covering can be used over the baby. If any other covering is used, one can make sure that the baby’s feet are at the bottom of the crib, the blanket is no higher than the baby’s chest, and the blanket is tucked in around the bottom of the crib mattress.
- Smoking must not be tolerated around your baby. Remember not to smoke before or after the birth of your baby.
- Make sure your baby does not get too warm during sleep. Your baby’s room should be kept at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many layers of clothing or blankets will overheat your baby.
Some mothers often worry about the baby rolling over during the night. However, the risk for SIDS is reduced when your baby is able to roll over by herself. Most babies are not able to turn over from their backs to their stomachs, during what is considered the time of greatest risk, 2 to 4 months of age.