Safe Sleep: The Four Rules of Safe Sleep
If you’re expecting a baby or you have a newborn at home now, you want to establish a safe sleeping environment plan right from the start. Discuss this plan with family, friends and caregivers or anyone who will care for your baby. The easiest way to do that is to follow the Four Rules of Safe Sleep:
- Babies should always sleep alone in a safe crib-Babies need a separate space to sleep safely. Keep your baby close by placing his or her crib/bassinet/pack n play next to your bed or in a nearby room – Share a Room, but not a Bed. Giving your baby separate space decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%.
- Babies should always sleep on their backs, for every sleep-Research has shown that stomach sleeping greatly increases the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Babies who sleep on their backs get more oxygen and are far less likely to suffocate.
- Nothing in the crib with your baby– Use your decorating talents in the baby’s room – but not in the crib! All your baby needs to sleep is a firm sleep surface (a crib, bassinet, pack n play or portable crib that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards) covered by a fitted sheet. Bumper pads have not shown to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and are not recommended. Pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed animals, and toys are great for when your baby is awake and supervised – but when she’s sleeping, remember that less is more.
- Smoke Free Environment–It is important to avoid all smoke exposure while pregnant and after your baby is born. Talk to your family about creating a smoke-free environment for wherever you and your baby spend time – in your home or car and the homes or cars of family members and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask someone who smokes to change their clothes before holding your baby. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are two to three times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep related deaths.
If you follow the Four Rules of Safe Sleep, your baby will be safe and healthy and you’ll rest a whole lot easier.