10 Tips for Safe Crib-Sleeping

By Nikki M

So you found the perfect modern crib and the most sumptuous bedding to go with it... But is it safe to sleep in?

As a parent, your foremost priority should always be your child's safety.  Your nursery styling may be A++, but if it isn't safe or practical, it's not going to be an ideal place for your little one. Before you even worry about bedtime routines and the dreaded sleep training, make sure to educate yourself on the proper steps for safe crib sleeping. Here are 10 things to keep in mind:

1. Crib Location

Is the crib:

  1. Next to a window?
  2. Adjacent to a bookshelf?
  3. Beside a floor lamp?
  4. Near a bunch of cords?
  5. All of the above?

If you picked one of the choices, DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND MOVE THE CRIB RIGHT NOW. You have to make sure that there's nothing that can potentially fall on your baby. Keep everything out of reach as well— as difficult it is to believe, babies are only immobile for such a short period of time!

2. Firm Mattress

While a soft, cushiony mattress sounds absolutely heavenly, it isn't the best choice for babies. A soft mattress easily sinks in and poses a risk of suffocation. Opt for a firmer mattress— not only will it is decrease the risk of SIDS by letting your little ones push themselves up easily, it also offers better support for those growing bodies.

3. Snug Crib Sheet

Make sure the sheets don't pull easily from the mattress —baby can become entangled and suffocate when they come undone! As a rule: the more snug, the better. You have to struggle to put them on and take them off.  Sure, laundry days will be a total pain in the butt, but if you can't pull them out easily, you can bet baby can't either.

4. Bumpers: Good or Bad?

While bumpers are nice to prevent baby's arms and legs from getting caught in the railing, they pose a risk of suffocation when baby rolls too close, and strangulation when the strings come undone.

If the slat spacing is narrow enough, skip the bumper. (It'll be purely decorative!) If your heart is set on using a bumper, make sure to tie the knots really tight, and cut the ends of the strings as short as possible.

5. Blanket Alternatives

Blankets can be dangerous as babies can pull them over their head, get entangled, and suffocate. (Yes, suffocation is a central theme here.)

Babies don't really need blankets. During the early stages, a simple swaddle will keep your little one warm and snug. On chilly nights, it's more important to dress them warmly. A great alternative to blankets is the cozy sleep sack— simply zip it over your baby's pajamas, and voila! A wearable blanket, with none of the risks.

Halo's SleepSack is made with 100% cotton and comes in the cutest prints. Aden + Anais also makes lovely sleeping bags in their signature cotton muslin.

6. No Pillows

Your baby doesn't need pillows either— sure, they add a decorative and cozy element to the crib, but they pose the risk of being stacked and stepped on, helping your baby to get up and over the crib. Don't worry— by the time they're toddlers, you can go wild with pillows!

7. Toys in the Crib

Just like pillows, all those huge fluffy stuffed animals are just asking to be stacked and stepped on, providing a nice escape for your little one. Don't think small toys are any better, either— talk about a choking hazard! The crib is for sleep. Leave the toys on the floor, or better yet, in a dedicated playroom.

8. Overheating

Make sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather. It's easy to assume babies are always freezing because they're so tiny and helpless, but that really isn't the case. It's much more common for babies to overheat at night than to freeze.

Always dress your baby in natural, breathable fabrics. Same goes for the crib bedding. Cotton and linen not only keep your baby cool, but are also wonderfully easy to maintain.

9. Pacifier Use

Feel guilty about your baby's pacifier habit? Don't sweat— pacifier use has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping babies on their back, maintaining an open airway, and affecting arousal during sleep.

Consider giving your little one a pacifier at night. Not only do doctors recommend it for SIDS prevention, it's also a great way for your little ones to self-soothe. Just make sure to taper off when they're close to a year old in order to make the weaning process easier. 

10. Sleeping Position

Perhaps the most important aspect of safe sleeping is HOW you put your baby to sleep.

Before the ‘90s, it was common practice to put babies to sleep on their tummies, with the idea that it prevents them from choking on vomit. During those times, SIDS cases were at an all-time high.

Since doctors started encouraging parents to put baby "back to sleep", SIDS cases have rapidly declined. (The cases for fatal choking in infants haven't increased since the recommendations began.) To prevent a flat back of the head, make sure to give your baby tons of tummy time practice. 

Now that you know how to practice safe crib-sleeping, you're sure to have a peace of mind and a good night's sleep (well, the latter isn't guaranteed).Got any tips to keep the crib safe for baby? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Tags : newborn   sleeping   safety   

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