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Safe sleep tips from Truman Medical Center

Every year in the U.S., there are approximately 3,500 infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation, strangulation, or undetermined causes during sleep. Please follow these tips to keep your baby safe while sleeping.

1. Always place your baby alone, on his or her back, in a crib or pack and play for EVERY sleep time.

2. Always use a firm, flat sleep surface.

Car seats and other sitting devices, swings, wedges, and devices that position baby on an incline are NOT SAFE for any sleep.

3. Use a firm sleep surface with a firm crib mattress, covered by a fitted crib or pack and play sheet.

"A crib, bassinet, or portable crib/play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) is recommended. In addition, parents and providers should check to make sure that the product has not been recalled.

Cribs with missing hardware should not be used, and the parent or provider should not attempt to fix broken components of a crib, because many deaths are associated with cribs that are broken or have missing parts (including those that have presumably been fixed).

Local organizations throughout the United States can help to provide low-cost or free cribs or play yards for families with financial constraints." (from the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) 2011 Policy StatementSIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations)

TMC's Safe Sleep program provides a free Cribs for Kids® Cribette/Pack N Play for eligible families who attend our Safe Sleep Class and deliver at TMC.

4. Room-share, but do not bed share.

The AAP recommends that a parent and infant sleep within a "sensory" distance of each other, meaning that each can tell that the other is near, by their touch, sight, or even smell.

Room-sharing and bed-sharing are types of co-sleeping:

  • Room-sharing: This is when parents have a crib in the room with them, a bassinet or portable crib near the bed, a separate crib attached to the bed, or a similar arrangement.
  • Bed-sharing: This is when parents share their bed with their children (sometimes called the "family bed"). This is NOT recommended as a form of safe sleep. Various U.S. medical groups warn parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds due to serious safety risks. Bed-sharing puts babies at risk of suffocation, strangulation, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies have found that bed-sharing is the most common cause of deaths in babies, especially those 3 months and younger.

5. Don't smoke near pregnant women or infants.

Set strict rules for smoke-free homes and cars. Eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke from all places in which children and other nonsmokers spend time.

6. Remove all soft bedding, bumpers and toys from baby's sleep space.

Because there is no evidence that bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides prevent injury in young infants, and because there IS the potential for suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation, these products are NOT RECOMMENDED.

7. Don't overheat or overdress your baby.

Dress your baby in light sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult (between 68-72 degrees F).

8. Breastfeed your baby, if possible.

Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of sleep-related death. If possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed or feed with expressed human milk (i.e., not offer any formula or other non–human milk– based supplements) for 6 months, in alignment with recommendations of the AAP.

9. Avoid commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.

These devices include wedges, positioners, special mattresses, sock sensors, and special sleep surfaces. There is no evidence that these devices reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation or that they are safe. The AAP concurs with the US Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission that manufacturers should not claim that a product or device protects against SIDS unless there is scientific evidence to that effect. Do not use home cardio-respiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.

10. Make sure baby can sleep safely when you travel.

Travel is one of the biggest causes of sleep disturbances to a baby in many ways. As you pack your bags to travel for holidays, remember to include what you'll need to ensure a separate, safe sleeping environment for your baby while away from home. If you plan to stay in a hotel, ask in advance if they have cribs available that you can use in your room

Cribs for kids. Helping every baby sleep safer

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