All young babies are at risk for dying while they are sleeping but there are things you can do to reduce your baby’s risk. Most of these deaths are preventable.
What you can do:
Put your baby to sleep safely EVERY TIME he or she goes to bed at night or for a nap. There are three things to remember:
Most sleep-related deaths occur when babies sleep with an adult or another child, or in an adult bed or on a sofa. Share your room with your baby, but not your bed.
Babies are more likely to die of SIDS if they are placed to sleep on their stomach or side. The safest position for a baby to sleep is on his or her back. Experts know that babies are not more likely to choke while lying on their back. In fact, when a baby is on its stomach, anything spit up can block the air pipe and cause choking or breathing problems.
Your baby’s sleeping place should be clean and clear. No blankets, pillows, fluffy toys or stuffed animals. Just put a tight-fitting sheet on a firm mattress. Your baby can wear a sleeper if it is cold.
For help in getting a crib, or in accessing health services, contact HealthCare Access Maryland at 410-649-0526.
Crib Information Center http://www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs/index.html
First Candle - For information on safe pregnancy, SIDS, safe sleep, and reducing the risk of stillbirth http://www.firstcandle.org/
Holding your infant for feedings and bonding is encouraged. It is only when your infant is sleeping that he or she needs to be alone, on their back and in a crib. You may find you sleep better too!
Remember—share a room, not a bed. Put your baby’s crib next to your bed so that you can easily pick him or her up for feedings during the night then return him or her to bed for sleeping.
Babies are more likely to suffocate when they sleep with an adult in an adult bed. It is important to remember to put your baby's safety first.
Your baby’s crib does not need to be fancy or expensive, but it must be safe. There are many types of stationary and portable cribs (such as a Pack ‘n Play™ or the portable crib given out by the Baltimore City Health Department) that are safe—you just have to make sure that it meets current safety guidelines. When purchasing a crib, look for Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification.
If you borrow a crib, check to make sure that the slats are no more than 2-3/8 inches apart. Widely spaced slats can trap an infant's head.
The mattress should be firm and fit snugly in the crib. The crib sheet should fit tightly all the way around and under the mattress. Nothing else should be in the crib with your baby – no quilts, blankets, comforters, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, or soft toys.
Car seats and infant carriers should not be used as your baby’s bed. Your baby could get knocked over or roll over. It’s just not worth taking a risk.
Dress your baby in a sleeper for warmth, but do not use blankets or allow your baby to get too warm. Overheating can be a risk for SIDS. If the room temperature is comfortable for you, then it is also comfortable for your baby.
My mother and auntie are telling me that they placed their babies on their stomachs while sleeping and that I slept on my stomach, so my baby should sleep on his stomach. Should I listen to them?
In most of the sleep-related deaths reported in 2009 for Baltimore City, the babies were found sleeping on their stomachs. Two of them had been placed to sleep on their side. Every time your baby lies down to sleep, he should be on his back- not his side or stomach. No exceptions.
Put your newborn baby on his or her back to sleep from day one. Your baby will soon get used to sleeping like that—soon it will seem natural.
If your baby is used to sleeping on his stomach, it may take a few days for him to get used to it, but rest assured—he will. Soon your baby will think it is natural.
You can also use a pacifier to calm your baby and help him or her go to sleep. Research suggests that pacifiers help reduce risk too.
Many parents believe that babies are more likely to choke if they sleep on their back. This is not true. In fact, your baby is LESS likely to choke on his or her back, because in that position the windpipe (trachea) is above the food tube (esophagus). Anything that is spit up from the stomach has to go against gravity to be inhaled into the windpipe. A healthy baby generally will turn his or her head so that spit up goes out of the mouth- not back down the throat.
When your baby is on his or her stomach, anything spit up can block the windpipe and cause choking or breathing problems.
Infants are actually less likely to choke when placed on their backs compared to their stomachs. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics changed the recommended sleeping position to the back, there has not been an increase in the number of deaths due to choking.
Yes! You can provide ‘tummy time’ when he is awake and being watched. This will help strengthen his neck and arm muscles and prevent flat spots on the back of his head.
For more information on 'tummy time,' go to http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Back-to-Sleep-Tummy-to-Play