Sleep safety is paramount at Baby Sleep Trainer. For all the unfounded concerns about sleep training and crying, I often wish families would be more concerned about their child’s sleep environment. Especially since once a child is sleep trained, they’ll be spending about 12 hours overnight in their crib, and around 2-3 hours each day. That’s a lot of time to be spending unattended in an environment! Therefore it’s vital your baby’s crib is completely safe. Here are my top three tips for baby sleep safety.
The single most important thing you can do as a parent to ensure your child is safe while they sleep is only have them sleep in a completely empty crib. From birth through 18 months, an infant’s crib should contain a well-fitted mattress, a tight fitted sheet, and the baby. Nothing else (like lovies of any size, blankets, bumpers, etc) should be in the crib.
Just recently I was made aware of a mother who found her baby not breathing after the child managed to get a very small lovey over their face in the crib. The infant was breathing recirculated air and became unconscious. Thankfully, the mother found the baby in time. But this is why nothing should be in the crib besides what is mentioned above. Does your child often put their legs or arms through the slats? You can have them sleep in a totally empty Pack n Play with mesh sides instead.
Flat on their back
Regardless of your child’s age, only put them down to sleep on their back. Even if they are easily able to roll both directions. Always put your child down to sleep on their back. Inquire with your pediatrician what to do when your baby rolls to their stomach during sleep, or while trying to fall asleep. If you find your child severely fights sleep when on their back, consider sleep training them.
I could tell countless stories of parents who missed something dangerous their child was doing because they were unable to see them. Your child could become trapped in an unsafe position that limits their breathing. Or get a limb stuck between the slats, and be unable to extricate their arm on leg. Finally, it’s often easier to identify your child being ill by watching them on a monitor. Make sure the camera is mounted to the wall, or another piece of furniture, and never touching the crib.
Once baby is showing signs of even potentially rolling over, or 8 weeks from birth (whichever comes first) babies should sleep with their arms completely free. This means no more swaddling. Sleeveless sleep sacks are fine, as well as plain pajamas.
Be attentive to signs of illness
Especially once a baby is sleep trained, families can worry about their checks overnight having an adverse affect on their child’s ability to sleep soundly. Even if your child is able to fall asleep on their own, know that it’s always a good idea to check on your child even if you have only a remote concern that something might be wrong. When you check on baby, make sure they’re totally healthy and safe. If you do identify something is wrong, address it immediately and have baby fall back to sleep on their own. Once you’ve done everything necessary to address the issue, and have ensured they’re now totally safe, allow them to get back to sleep alone.
While it may not seem like it, keeping your baby safe during sleep is quite simple. By following the guidelines above, you will be doing everything in your power to ensure that your child is sleeping in as safe a sleep environment as possible. And if you would like to learn more about helping your child get safe, blissful sleep – sign up for my newsletter!