Watching your baby sleep is a cherished memory, however, for some, this moment can turn into a nightmare. According to the Ohio Department of Health, three babies die in unsafe sleep environments each week in the state, with 819 infant deaths from 2007-11. “Sleep-related infant deaths occur suddenly and unexpectedly in a sleep environment,” the state released. “Sixty percent of these sleep-related deaths occur in adult beds, couches or chairs. This is the leading cause of death between one month and one year of age.” To help educate parents, grandparents and other caregivers, Ohio has launched the campaign “The ABCs of Safe Sleep: Alone. Back. Crib. Every Baby, Every Sleep.” Here are some tips to keep your baby safe while sleeping:
Bare crib is best. Don’t place bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals in crib. Babies can suffocate on any extra item in the crib. Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Sleep clothing like fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers and sleep sacks are safer for baby than blankets.
Back is best for baby. Always put your baby to sleep on his back. Healthy babies naturally swallow or cough up their spit up, so your baby will not choke if he’s on his back. It’s also safer for your baby to wake up often during the night on his back.
Share the room, not the bed. Always place your baby alone in a crib, bassinet or play yard with a firm mattress. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room (within arm’s reach such as in a bassinet). This way, you can easily breastfeed and bond with your baby. Never nap on a couch or chair while holding your baby and don’t lay your baby down on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, air mattresses, pillows or cushions.
Break from back: Give your baby “tummy time” when she is awake and someone is watching. “Tummy time” helps prevent flat spots on your baby’s head and also helps their head, neck and shoulder muscles get stronger.
For more information and tips, visit odh.ohio.gov/safesleep