Rachael Taylor (Guest Blog)
7 Safe Sleep tips produced with Rachael Taylor, The Sleep Sanctuary
Sleep is a hot topic for parents and one that is discussed frequently and at length in most Baby College classes. Whether you are blessed with a child that sleeps well, or one that struggles, every parent should make sure that their child is sleeping safely. Recommendations for safe sleep change frequently, so it’s important to regularly revisit current guidance. Here are 7 Safe Sleep Tips written for us by Rachael Taylor, Gentle Sleep Coach and Founder of The Sleep Sanctuary. Back to Sleep for every sleep Always put your baby down to sleep on their back for every sleep (day or night). Side or front sleeping positions greatly increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the Back to Sleep campaign was launched in 1991, SIDS has dropped by 79%. Once your baby can roll over from his back to front by himself, you can leave him to find his own sleep position, but ensure that that the sleep space is free from anything that might trap or suffocate him such as quilts, loose blankets, or bumpers. Sleep on a firm, flat surface Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved cot, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, adult beds, sofas or armchairs. These are dangerous as they put your baby at risk of becoming trapped or suffocated. Guidance has recently been updated that babies should not be allowed to remain sleeping in a car seat or any other item that does not have a firm, flat surface, for longer than necessary. Babies who are younger than 4 months are particularly at risk because they may sleep in positions that can obstruct their airway. Ensure a clear safe sleep space Make sure that there is nothing in the baby’s sleep space that can cause your baby to suffocate or become trapped. This includes pillows, quilts, blankets, bumpers, comforters, stuffed animals, or sleep positioners, pods or nests (even if they are covered by a sheet, blankets or other soft bedding). Beware of second-hand sleep surfaces Think twice about using pre-loved or hand-me-down sleep space, even if they’ve been in the family for years. Safety standards have changed, and some products have been recalled or taken off the market. Share a room but not a bed It is recommended that your baby sleeps in your room, but on a separate sleep surface, for at least for the first 6 months (ideally for the first year of life). Evidence suggests that it also reduces the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Having your baby’s cot within view and reach will also help you to feed, comfort, and monitor your baby If you do decide to bed-share make sure that you follow current safe sleep guidance from The Lullaby Trust and never bed share if you, or anyone in the bed, has recently drunk alcohol, taken drugs or medicines that make you more sleepy, or smoked. Consider using a dummy Dummies can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS. Consider offering one to your baby, but you should not force her to take it. If you are breastfeeding, wait about four to six weeks before introducing one. Many parents stop offering their child after six months, so the baby doesn’t get so accustomed to falling asleep with something in his mouth. Maintain a healthy, stable temperature in your home The recommended safe temperature for babies is between 16 to 20 degrees C. While this may seem cool to you, your baby isn’t used to regulating his own body temperature, and is unable to remove extra blankets or clothing.
For the latest safe sleep guidance visit The Lullaby Trust ( www.lullabytrust.org.uk )
The Sleep Sanctuary is an online children’s Sleep Consultancy supporting tired parents to improve their child’s sleep and live healthier, happier lives ( www.mysleepsanctuary.co.uk ) www.babycollege.co.za