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Keeping Babies Sleeping Safe: What Moms and Dads Need to Know

You can’t wait to get your baby home and watch them grow strong and healthy. To give them the best chance for that, be sure you know how to protect them and keep them safe as well. That includes when they are awake, at naptime, bedtime and any time you put them down to sleep. In fact, learning safe sleeping habits could save your baby’s life. Did you know that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in babies one month to one year of age? Fortunately, there are steps parents and caregivers can take to prevent SIDS. 

Here are important facts and recommendations from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to help your baby sleep safe and sound:

  • Babies sleep safest on their backs. Placing your baby on his/her back to sleep is the best way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Every sleep time counts – babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times, which reduces their risk of SIDS.
  • Room sharing – keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep – reduces the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS. The firm sleep surface can include: a safety-approved crib, bassinet, and portable play area.Never place baby on soft surfaces such as a couch or sofa, pillows, quilts, sheepskins or blankets.
  • If you bring your baby into your bed to feed, make sure to put him or her back in a separate sleep area (such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet or portable play area) when you are finished.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area to reduce risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS. Do not force the baby to use it, if it falls out of baby’s mouth during sleep.
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot during sleep. Dress your baby in no more than one layer more of clothing than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Keep the room a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
  • Make sure other caregivers know and follow these safe sleep steps for babies under 1 year of age.

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