There is nothing in existence more wonderful than a baby. But, as all loving parents know, you are now a hostage to worry until the day you die. Here is some good advice about how to ensure that your precious new one will be safe while (s)he sleeps. Whew! That's a relief!
Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be a very exciting time, particularly if it's your first child. Most people start to prepare well in advance, often starting with the crib. But before you pick out the cutest, most beautiful crib and nursery in the world, you need to make sure it not only looks good but it's safe for your baby. So, how can you make sure that your baby's sleeping environment is safe? Here’s what you need to consider:
Get Rid Of The Old Crib & Get A New One
Make sure you use a modern crib that complies with current safety standards. Using an old crib may save you a few dollars, but older cribs can also expose you baby to potential hazards such as lead based paint, gaps that can trap your baby's limbs, and low sides which encourage an older baby to try to climb out. Pay particular attention that the mattress fits snugly without any gaps between it and the crib frame that could allow little limbs to get jammed or trapped.
Preparing The Bed For The Little One
Make the sheets you choose fit tightly onto the mattress. Your baby can become entangled in loose fitting sheets, so use a fitted sheet with elastic that goes the whole way around the sheet. Even safer is to use a sheet that slips on the mattress like a pillowcase. Since a baby's skin is often very sensitive, you may also choose to use sheets made from organic cotton to reduce the risk of exposure to traces of pesticides that may remain in the fabric.
A Baby’s Room Is A No Smoking Zone
While doctors always tell you to avoid smoking, you need to take special care when you have a baby in the house. Keep the air in the baby’s room free of smoke, both before and after he/she is born. Research has proved that tobacco smoke is leading factor in the incidence of SIDS.
Uncover Baby’s Head And Face
Make sure there is no chance that baby's head or face can become covered while in bed. Covering the head or face might lead to accidental asphyxia or overheating, which has been shown to be linked to SIDS. To help avoid this, place the baby at the foot of the crib. This will reduce the chance of the baby slipping under the covers while asleep. To be even safer, discard all sheets and blankets and use a sleeping bags or sleeping suits. These have the added advantage that they cannot be kicked off during sleep. Finally, remove all soft toys, pillows, comforters and duvets from the crib before placing the baby in it.
Beware The Bumper!
Many child care organization such as The American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS First Candle Alliance and Health Canada discourage the use of bumpers due to the increased risk of smothering, entanglement and strangulation. However, most manufacturers will still include a standard bumper in those cute ladybug crib sets you've had your eye on. So what should you do with the bumper? There are 4 options:
+ Do not use a bumper at all
+ Use a breathable mesh bumper (eg. those from BreathableBaby)
+ Use bumpers that surround individual slats (eg. Those from Go Mama Go designs)
+ Use a well constructed traditional bumper
When you are selecting a traditional crib bumper you need to check a few points:
* If the bumper uses tie strings, make sure they are 7-9 inches long. If they are too long, they pose a higher risk of strangulation. If they are too short, they may come undone.
* The bumper must have at least 12-16 ties or velcro strips at both the top and bottom. If there are insufficient ties, try sewing some more on yourself. Bumpers that attach only from the top should be avoided.
* Avoid any gaps and overlapping in the bumpers. This will reduce the chances of the baby becoming entrapped.
* Avoid bumpers make from fluffy pillow like pads, since they increase the risk of suffocation and re-breathing of air.
Baby’s Sleeping Area
Make sure your baby sleeps near you, but in a separate bed. Co-sleeping might make feeding the baby easier at night, but it also increases the risk of accidental crushing or suffocation. Besides, once the baby is used to of co-sleeping, it will be harder to convince him/her to sleep alone when the time comes.
The crib should also be kept well away from windows and furniture that tempts baby to climb, and therefore potentially suffer a serious fall. Similarly, keep the crib away from hanging items, such as curtain draw cords, since they can be a strangulation hazard.
It is important that you put the child to sleep on his/her back. Studies have proved that babies lying on their tummies and on sides had an increased risk of SIDS.
Is Your Baby Too Warm Or Too Cold?
Keeping your baby too warm as well as too cold can both be harmful. Overheating particularly has been linked to SIDS deaths. To help regulate your baby's temperature, calculate the tog value of the bedding. Tog is an international measurement of thermal effectiveness. In a room at 65°F the recommended tog value is 8. Note that the tog value is the some of all the individual layers of bedding, including clothing.
Alan Riley is the publisher of BeautifulBeddingSets.com. This site showcases all sorts of bedding, including crib bedding, the best down comforter you can find, and memory foam mattress topper reviews. Alan resides in Melbourne, Australia and loves to go sailing in his spare time. He and his family are also active members of his local church.