Sleep Well Sleep Safe

Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC

OCTOBER 27, 2016


October is officially SIDS awareness month, and while those 4 letters strike fear into any parent of a newborn, the more parents are informed on ways to decrease the risk of this tragedy, the better. 
The following guidelines are taken directly from the Healthy Children website, the parent’s version of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Safe Sleep Practices

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines from babies sleeping in close proximity to their parents for the first six months, to now recommending up to the first year.

  • Always place babies to sleep on their backs during naps and at nighttime. Because babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to accidentally roll onto their stomach, the side position is just as dangerous as the stomach position.
  • Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. This point is especially important now, as the weather gets colder.
  • Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bed time. The pacifier should not have cords or clips that might be a strangulation risk.

Safe Sleep Environment

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards.
  • Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free.
  • Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

For a more comprehensive discussion on safe sleep for newborns, please go to the Healthy Children website:

Especially important is that parents should make sure that anyone caring for their infant (grandparents, day care providers, etc.) is aware of the of these safe sleep guidelines. If you have any questions about safe sleep practices, please be sure to speak with your pediatrician.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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