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Sleeping safely

Simple steps to creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby.

Nothing is more beautiful than a sleeping baby, especially for parents who are often overtired themselves. By following a few simple tips, parents can create a safer sleeping environment for their baby.

Baby’s cot/crib

  • Choose a crib that meets current US or European safety standards.
  • Make sure the crib is properly assembled.
  • Carefully inspect second-hand cots for missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the cot or mattress support.
  • Purchase a firm, tight-fitting mattress so your baby can’t get trapped between the mattress and the crib. Avoid cots with design cutouts in the headboard or footboard as they pose a risk of trapping your baby once he starts exploring.
  • Ensure that the gaps between the cot rails are too close to slip a can of soda between them. More space means that a baby’s head could get stuck. Corner posts of the crib should not stick up more than 1.5 mm. Taller posts present a risk of accidental hanging once your baby starts crawling out of the crib.
  • Reduce the risk of cot death by keeping the crib free of all stuffed animals, bumpers, pillows
  • and accessories.

Positioning your baby’s cot/crib

  • Avoid placing the crib near windows, curtains, blinds or wall-mounted decorative accessories with cords.
  • To reduce the risk of strangulation, do not hang anything above or on a baby’s cot using string or cord.
  • For the first six months place your baby’s crib in your room for more convenient feeding and closer contact.
  • Always return your baby to her own cot when you are ready to go back to sleep. Though less convenient for tired parents it is much safer for your baby.

Going to sleep

  • The safest sleeping position for your newborn baby is on his back. Remember the phrase “Back to Sleep”.
  • If your baby is older and able to roll in both directions then you can safely allow her to sleep on her stomach. Otherwise, gently move your baby onto her back.
  • Don’t overdress your baby for sleep. He should be warm but not sweating or hot to the touch. Cool hands are quite acceptable as long as the baby’s stomach is warm.
  • Instead of using blankets consider the safer option of using a baby sleep sack or sleeper (a wearable blanket) .
  • If you feel a blanket is necessary, place the baby with her feet touching the end of the cot and then tuck the blanket firmly under the mattress so it only reaches to her chest.
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered.

General safety

  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
  • Sharing a bed with your baby is not safe, particularly if you are very tired, have been drinking alcohol, are taking medicines or if you smoke.
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.

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