Keep babies safe with these important sleep recommendations
Mary Jones, MD, child advocacy physician at Loyola Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, offers these instructions for ensuring your baby stays safe while sleeping. Most important:
- Always put a baby on his or her back to sleep, including night-time sleeping and naps.
- Always put a baby to sleep on a flat, firm surface.
- Always put a baby to sleep in his or her own bed, whether that is in mom and dad’s room or in a separate room. Never put a baby to sleep in the same bed as others.
- Make sure your baby is not overheated. Dr. Jones suggests using a blanket sleeper or a second layer of clothing instead of using a blanket to keep baby warm.
- Keep the baby’s crib clear of unnecessary items like toys, blankets, positioners and bumpers.
- Keep your baby’s vaccinations up-to-date.
- Never smoke in the room or home where a baby lives.
- Breastfeed your baby for the recommended time period. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breast-fed for about the first six months of life. Babies should continue to breast-feed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.)
- Supervise tummy time while baby is awake.
“Despite the progress we’ve made, some surveys show as many as half of parents do not put infants to sleep on their backs,” says Dr. Jones. “It’s important for physicians to take the time to emphasize safe sleeping, and parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask their baby’s doctor if they have questions about the recommendations. Safe sleep for babies saves lives.”