Baby Sleeps: Whether the baby sleeps with us or not, we will need to take some precautions. During the first few months, when you still cannot turn on your own, you must be on your back.
For mothers and fathers, our children’s safety is a priority; that is why we do not take our eyes off them during the day. But how to do it when we sleep? How can we guarantee your safety at night?
Whether the baby sleeps in the crib or bassinet or with us, safety measures must be taken into account, valid for any form of sleep:
1. Always Face Up
The first, and undoubtedly the most important, is that children should not lie on their stomachs. Since this practice was changed years ago, the incidence of “death in the cradle” has dropped significantly, and that is why all official bodies recommend it.
Laying them on their side, although it was the strategy used by many parents when lying on their stomachs, was prohibited, is also not currently recommended.
Even when? Until the baby knows how to turn himself when sleeping. At that time, we can already lay it on its side.
2. On a Firm Surface
Second, the surface where the baby sleeps must be firm. On the other hand, current mattresses are water mattresses, excessively soft mattresses, and sofas are inadequate since the baby could be trapped between the soft folds of these surfaces or with his head between them.
The same happens with pillows: they should be avoided for up to two years as they could force the curvature of your neck. If the child were to turn over on his stomach, it would happen as with very soft mattresses: his head would be trapped, with the risk of suffocation.
It would help if you did not use a pillow until the age of two, as it could force the curvature of the neck.
You can use a pillow from the age of two (although it is still not necessary). Make sure it is thin, not very soft, and the same size as the crib. The better materials are fiber, which allows oxygenation and respiration.
Finally, it is preferable to choose a washable one, since children tend to regurgitate or vomit if they are sick and covered.
Make sure there is no space between the mattress and the wall or the headboard so that the baby cannot get trapped.
3. Sleeping With Parents Safely
When a baby shares a bed with his parents (co-sleeping) and the general recommendations explained in this article, some additional measures must be taken to prevent possible accidents.
In the first place, any situation that means that parents cannot monitor their children must be avoided; for example, under the influence of some drug or alcohol or any medication that prevents them from waking up.
If one of the parents is very ill, co-sleeping is also discouraged. With a high fever or under the influence of any drug, it is evident that you are not able to care for the baby properly.
And if the disease is contagious, it is better to stay away from the baby.
a. How to Avoid Falling Out of Bed
Sleeping between the two parents is one of the options to avoid this type of accident. Another is that a railing is placed on the side of the bed where you sleep.
Sidecar cribs (cribs that do not have a side and attached to the parents’ bed) are very suitable because they allow you to sleep with the parents and feel close.
b. Other Preventive Measures
Parents naturally transmit heat, so sometimes it can be convenient to control the temperature: you can set the heating thermostat between 16 and 18 degrees, or wear light clothing.
If siblings sleep together without their parents, the youngest should be around 9 months of development age to be autonomous in bed, to be able to roll over or take his hand away from his older brother.
4. Sudden Death Syndrome
There is talk of sudden infant death (SIDS) when the baby dies unexpectedly and without apparent medical cause. It occurs in the first year of life, but especially between the 2nd and 4th month.
Sleeping with parents and breastfeeding has been shown to decrease their incidence.
It is different from the child who dies accidentally or violently suffocated, by the aspiration of vomit, by a fulminant infectious picture or by a congenital cardiac, metabolic, or neurological disorder.
Among the Factors That Favor Sids Have Been Identified:
- sleeping on your stomach
- smoking environment
- excessive heat
- maternal alcohol.
Sleeping with parents and breastfeeding are factors that have been shown to decrease its incidence.
If your child must recline, as in the reflux case, it is better to raise the mattress than to use pillows.
As for bedding, feather duvets are not recommended because they are allergenic and release feathers that end up in the mouth.
A temperature between 16 and 18º C is adequate for sleeping.
The hotness of the baby during sleep is a factor of suffocation and sudden death. Don’t over-cover it. A good measure is to do it as you would cover yourself. A temperature between 16 and 18º C is adequate for sleeping.
Parents are discouraged from smoking in the room where their baby sleeps, even if they ventilate it before putting them to bed. Smoke contains particles deposited on blankets, mattresses, curtains …, and when moved, they are released into the air.
For the same reason, you should not smoke in the rest of the house. It is also considered dangerous for the baby to sleep with pets.
5. If You Choose the Crib
In addition to all these recommendations, if the baby sleeps in a crib, we must ensure that it complies with the European regulation UNE-E 716-1 (the EU logo must appear on the label).
The separation between the bars must be less than 6 centimeters to prevent the child from passing his head and more significant than 4.5 cm so that the hands can move without being trapped.
The height of the bars is also significant to avoid falls. Most cribs allow the mattress to be placed in different positions, in this case, the minimum height inside is 30 cm and the maximum 60 cm for the mother to reach the baby.
From here, you have to adapt it to your measurements: if you already sit or stand up, we should make sure that the height of the bars exceeds that of your chest so that, if you lean outwards, the weight of your body does not overcome you and falls off.
The railing is better to be fixed. If it is one of those that goes up and down, you have to make sure that it works properly, as it is a frequent cause of accidents.
The varnish or paint should not be toxic because children tend to suck it, especially since it does not contain lead, which is a ubiquitous component in color from 30 years ago.
b. The Padded
The padded protectors on the sides are placed to prevent the child from hitting the bars. Many organizations that ensure child safety advise against them lately due to the danger of suffocation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend them for this reason and because they contribute to the rebreathing of air.
Babies tend to seek the contact of their head with the bars, and their face is always close to the protector, if it is so dense that it reduces the flow of air in the crib it is also dangerous, and one of the factors that contribute to the death syndrome sudden infant.
c. The Mattress
The mattress must have the appropriate size: there must be no more than two fingers of separation between the crib and the bed to avoid any extremity being trapped.
Manufacturers are obliged to put the optimal measure in the labeling. The mattress should be at least 1.31 cm long by 60 wide.
The crib must be 20 cm longer than the baby; if not, it is small and must be changed.
Check that it does not wobble, as it indicates that some of its parts or hooks are not correctly attached and may come loose.
It is important because children tend to hold onto the crib, standing up and like to rock and rock it, and it can cause a component to come loose.
Two of the legs must be fixed to prevent the crib from moving, even if it is away from dangerous places AND, if they have four wheels, at least two must have brakes.
Organizations that ensure child safety have also studied where the crib is placed and advise that it not be next to windows (especially if they are not closed), or curtains and blinds, due to the risk of accidents and suffocation.
Finally, we will monitor what we put inside the crib. Many parents, when their children sleep alone, use monitors. It is best if they are wireless or, if they are wired, they should be away from the crib.