Posts Tagged ‘Back to Sleep’

Safe sleep: room share, don’t bed share

Friday, October 28th, 2016

cropped sleeping babyIn an update to their safe sleep guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that infants should sleep in the same room, but not the same bed, as their parents ideally for the first year of life, but for at least the first 6 months. Evidence suggests that sleeping in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep surface decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%. In addition, this sleeping arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed. The AAP’s safe sleep recommendations include:

Back to sleep for every sleep. Your baby should be put on his back every time, by every caregiver until he is 1 year old. Side sleeping is not safe and is not advised. Premature babies should be placed on their backs to sleep as soon as possible. The AAP states, “Preterm infants are at increased risk of SIDS, and the association between prone [stomach] sleep position and SIDS among low birth weight and preterm infants is equal to, or perhaps even stronger than, the association among those born at term.”

Use a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress covered with a tightly fitted sheet. Use only the mattress made for your baby’s crib. The mattress should fit snugly in the crib so there are no spaces between the mattress and the crib frame. The mattress shape should stay firm even when covered with a tightly fitted sheet or mattress cover. Don’t let your baby sleep in his carrier, sling, car seat or stroller. Babies who sleep in these items can suffocate. If your baby falls asleep in one of them, take her out and put her in her crib as soon as you can.

Babies should sleep in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep-surface. Parents should not bed-share. Bed-sharing is the most common cause of death in babies younger than 3 months old. Keep your baby’s crib close to your bed so your baby is nearby during the night. Share your bedroom with your baby but not your bed.

Breastfeeding is recommended. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the sleep area. Crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, and toys in the crib put your baby in danger of getting trapped, strangled or of suffocating.

Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. It is not clear why, but studies show that pacifiers protect your baby from SIDS. This is true even if the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth. However, don’t hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck or attach the pacifier to your baby’s clothing or a stuffed animal.

Avoid smoke exposure, alcohol, and illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth. Babies who are around secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who aren’t to die of SIDS. And there is an increased risk of SIDS with maternal use of alcohol or illicit drugs.

Avoid overheating and head coverings. It is difficult to provide specific room temperature guidelines but in general, dress your baby appropriately for the environment. A blanket sleeper can keep your baby warm without covering his head or face.

Avoid the use of sleep positioners, wedges, or other devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Don’t use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS. These monitors track a baby’s heart rate and breathing. Some babies need this kind of monitor because of medical problems, but this is rare. There’s no evidence that the monitors help reduce the risk of SIDS in healthy babies.

Give your baby supervised tummy-time while he is awake. Babies need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles and tummy time helps. You can find some tummy time activities here.

It is important that all people who will care for your baby know these guidelines and follow them to keep your baby safe while he sleeps.

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Reduce the risk of SIDS in your baby

Monday, October 5th, 2015

back to sleepEach year 3500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly in the U.S. These deaths are called sudden unexplained infant deaths (SUID). Most of them happen while the infant is sleeping in an unsafe environment.

SUIDs are reported as one of three types of infant deaths:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
    SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained. It can happen without warning to a baby who seems healthy. One reason a baby is more likely to die of SIDS is if he is  born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or with low birthweight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces).
  • Unknown cause
    This is the death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained because an investigation was not conducted. Therefore, cause of death could not be determined.
  • Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed
    Suffocation can occur if an infant is put to sleep on soft bedding or a pillow. It can also happen when a person rolls on top of an infant or when he becomes wedged between two objects such as a mattress and the bed frame. Strangulation can happen when an infant’s head and neck become caught between two objects such as crib railings.

What can you do?

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month. It is important to understand your baby’s individual risk factors, and learn safe sleep strategies including:

  • ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.
  • Do not smoke. Babies of parents who smoke are more likely to die of SIDS than other babies.
  • Give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime.
  • There are many myths about SIDS – learn the facts.
  • Place your baby in her own bassinet or crib to sleep near your bed, but do not share the same bed. 

The good news is that SUIDs has significantly declined – from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 in 1990 to 39.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2013 – as a result of safe sleep messaging. See the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep recommendations and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Safe to Sleep campaign.

Have questions? Text or email us at Askus@marchofdimes.org.

Safe sleep for babies

Friday, October 24th, 2014

cropped sleeping babySafe sleep can help protect babies from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related dangers, like suffocation (not being able to breathe). Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day, so it’s important to make sure that where and how they sleep are safe.

Here are some things you can do to help keep your baby safe when she sleeps:

Where to put your baby to sleep
• Put your baby to sleep on her back on a flat, firm surface—a crib is best. Use only the mattress made for your baby’s crib. The mattress should fit snugly in the crib so there are no spaces between the mattress and the crib frame.
• Keep crib bumpers, loose bedding, toys and other soft objects out of your baby’s crib. They put babies in danger of getting trapped, strangled or suffocating. This is important even as your baby gets older. A study recently published in Pediatrics showed that “rolling to prone [stomach], with objects in the sleep area, is the predominant risk factor for older infants.”
• Share your bedroom with your baby but not your bed. Co-sleeping means that babies and parents sleep together in the same bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that babies should not co-sleep with their parents and studies have shown that bed-sharing is the biggest risk factor for SIDS in children under four months. Instead, put your baby to bed in her own crib and keep it close to your bed during the night. This will allow you keep an eye on your baby and to breastfeed her easily.
• Don’t put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress or other soft surface. “Of nearly 8,000 infant sleeping deaths in the United States, researchers found that about 12 percent were sofa-related. And nearly three-quarters of those infants were newborns.”

How to put your baby to sleep
• Put your baby to sleep on her back every time, until she’s 1 year old. It’s not safe for babies to sleep on their side or tummy. Most babies will roll over both ways by the end of the 7th month; but start them out on their backs.
• Dress your baby in light sleep clothes. Keep the room at a temperature that’s comfortable for you. If your baby is sweating or her chest feels hot, she may be overheated.
• Give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime. Pacifiers may help protect against SIDS. Don’t hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck or attach the pacifier to your baby’s clothing or a stuffed animal.
• Don’t use products, such as special mattresses or wedges, that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. There is no evidence that they do.

Mom and baby care
• Feed your baby only breast milk for at least 6 months. Continue breastfeeding your baby until at least her first birthday.
• Don’t smoke and don’t let anyone smoke in your home or around your baby.
• Take your baby to all her well baby visits and make sure she gets her vaccinations on time.
• Give your baby tummy time every day. Tummy time helps your baby develop her neck, shoulder and arm muscles.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Back sleeping and flat head syndrome

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Back to Sleep Campaign was launched in the early 1990s to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending placing babies on their backs when putting them to bed, the number of cases of SIDS has been cut in half, according to the CDC. That’s wonderful!

But something that has increased since then is the number of cases of babies with flat head syndrome, sometimes referred to as positional plagiocephaly. If babies spend all of their time on their backs, it can lead to positional flattening or molding of the head. The good news is that a new report published in the journal Pediatrics, has been written to help guide pediatricians in recognizing, managing and even preventing skull deformities in otherwise healthy children.

Babies’ skulls are soft and are made up of several skull plates. These movable plates have space between them, called sutures, that allow the head to be flexible so that the brain can grow. If the head is left in the same position for long periods of time, the plates move in a way that leaves a flat spot.
Most cases of positional plagiocephaly can be prevented (and sometimes corrected) by repositioning, which relieves pressure from the back of an infant’s head. Techniques for repositioning include:
– Making sure your baby gets more tummy time
– Changing the direction your baby lies in her crib from one week to the next.
– Changing the location of the crib in your baby’s room so that she will turn her head to look in other directions.
– Avoiding too much time in carriers, car seats and bouncers while your baby is awake
– Getting “cuddle time” with your baby by holding her upright over your shoulder several times a day.

More severe cases of positional plagiocephaly can be corrected by having the baby wear a custom helmet or band for two to four months. Be sure to chat with your baby’s provider about head shape at each well-child checkup.

Keep your baby safe when she sleeps

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

baby-sleepingI love watching my little girl sleep in her crib! She looks like an angel, all peaceful and quiet – nothing like the silly, giggly goose she is when she’s awake.

When we first set her crib up and laid out all the crib bedding, I couldn’t wait to see how it would brighten up her room. But I wasn’t quite sure about the bumper. It looked so cute, but was it safe?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has new sleep safety guidelines for baby and now says a big fat NO to crib bumpers.  The AAP says loose bedding, like crib bumpers, and soft objects, like stuffed animals or pillows, put babies at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and strangulation.

The AAP guidelines highlight other ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, like:
Put your baby to sleep on her back.
• Use a firm crib mattress.
• Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib.
• Have your baby sleep in her crib in your room.
• Offer your baby a pacifier at night and during nap times.
• Avoid overheating your baby. Overbundling or using too many layers can overheat your baby.
Breastfeed. Breastfeeding has shown to lessen the risk of SIDS.
• Don’t smoke, use drugs or drink alcohol.

Newborn care – sleeping

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Dr. Siobhan Dolan visits a new mom to give her tips on how to put her newborn to sleep

Back vs. tummy time

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

tummy-timeAlmost all of us have heard about the Back to Sleep campaign to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the sudden, unexplained death of an infant under one year old.   Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs, but “tummy time” is important, too. Babies still need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles. The best way to help your newborn build her muscles is to give her some tummy time while she’s awake and being watched. Never leave your baby alone during tummy time. When the baby gets tired, place the baby on her back to sleep.

I read an interesting article in The New York Times yesterday about tummy time and its importance.  What really caught my eye were the comments left after the article.  While most parents are aware of the Back to Sleep recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the success rate of reducing SIDS, a number of parents said they didn’t agree with it and put their babies to sleep on their stomachs.  I was stunned.  You know what we think.  What do you think?

Co-sleeping, is it safe?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

It’s a nice, snuggly, tender picture… sleeping with your baby.  But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warn that infants should not co-sleep with their parents.  By co-sleeping, we mean one or both parents sleeping with a baby in an adult bed.

Many people argue that when done properly, co-sleeping benefits both parent and child.  There are others, however, who argue that the convenience and comfort of co-sleeping is outweighed by the increased risk of suffocation from many directions and of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  This is especially true if either parent is a smoker.

Read more about the risks of co-sleeping or follow our interactive program called Understanding Your Newborn.   Wherever your baby sleeps, make it as safe a space as possible and always put your baby on his back to sleep.

Back to sleep

Friday, October 10th, 2008

My mother, who is in her 80s, recently asked me what is wrong with most babies’ heads these days.  “They all have bald spots in the middle of the back of their heads.  Is there a ringworm epidemic going around?”  Trying not to giggle I said no, it comes from laying babies on their backs all the time while they sleep.  The Back to Sleep campaign was created to help prevent SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  I explained:

SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under the age of one year for no apparent reason.  SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” because it usually looks like a peacefully sleeping baby just never wakes up in her crib.  Parents should know always to put their baby to sleep on her back.  This means at naptime as well as bedtime. They should make sure anyone babysitting (grandma, sister, friend or neighborhood teen) knows to do this, too.  This will reduce the risk of SIDS.

Some people worry that a baby on her back might choke if she spits up while sleeping.  But research shows that this is not so.  In fact, it has been proven that babies who sleep on their stomach or side are more likely to die of SIDS than back sleepers.  While it is important to give babies time on their tummies, we need to make sure it’s while they are awake.  Be with your baby while she kicks and wiggles and strengthens her neck and shoulder muscles.  When she tires, put her on her back to sleep.

By the way, October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Learn more about this and share the news with your family and friends.