Our babies are so precious to us that we will do anything to make them happy. Sometimes that includes things like a fluffy blanket and a cushy pillow and a huge plush animal in Baby’s sleeping space. That makes a super cute nursery and it looks great on Pinterest, but it’s not a safe sleeping space. This isn’t big news — we’ve known for a long time that babies need to sleep on their backs in a crib without a lot of accessories. But it’s worth a reminder for new parents, since a recent study found that a majority of parents still place their babies in risky sleep environments.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report for the study. Researchers video recorded a night of sleep for infants at 1, 3, and 6 months of age. They found that most parents in the study put their children in a potentially dangerous setting. This was the first study to examine video recordings rather than rely on reporting.
The study began with over 160 infants, though some dropped out before the study was concluded. Over the course of the three time periods examined, as many as 21% of infants were placed on non-recommended sleep surfaces, as many as 33% were placed in non-recommended sleep positions, and 87-93% were put to bed with potentially dangerous items in their sleeping area.
Sleep-related deaths are the most common cause of death for children between the ages of one month and one year, and the results from this study show one of the reasons: many parents are not aware that they are placing their babies in risky sleep environments.
Sleeping risks for babies
Bed-sharing is a type of co-sleeping that puts parents and babies in the same bed. This is dangerous and puts your baby at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome. This is dangerous for a number of reasons.
- Beds for adults are, obviously, not made for babies and can present dangers for infants that are non-existent for adults.
- Parents could roll on top of infants during sleep
- Infants might suffocate under pillows, in sheets, under blankets, etc.
Another risk for sleeping babies includes positioning. Babies that sleep on their sides or stomachs are at a higher risk of sleep-related death.
Loose materials or items such as blankets, toys, excessively soft bedding, or stuffed animals can also present a danger for sleeping babies.
How to make sure your baby sleeps safely
Babies are incredibly precious, but they are also incredibly vulnerable. You love them, and you want to be close to them, but you should never sleep in bed with your baby. Bed-sharing might seem like a good, comforting idea, but it is dangerous and risky.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is by herself in a crib or bassinet without extra toys, blankets, or other items. Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet rather than a bed or other type of furniture. Making sure babies have safe sleep environments can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. You might think that your child needs to sleep with stuffed animals or a cute little blanket, but those items can put your baby at risk. Enjoy them as part of the nursery decor, but remove them when you put Baby to bed.
Dull is ideal for a sleeping baby. Here are a few more ideas to help your baby sleep safe.