There are few things more beautiful than a sleeping baby. Those peaceful, tiny features get the oxytocin or feel-good chemical circulating in most of us! We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘sleep like a baby’ but anyone who has looked after an infant knows that sleeping is often less than perfect!
For advice and support on sleeping issues, we refer to a certified sleep consultant in Botswana, Super Sleeper, but in this post, we are focusing on safe sleep advice. We’d like to support parents to make informed decisions when they put their babies to sleep.
Social media plays a role in putting infants at risk. Instagram is full of beautiful baby products and photo-worthy nurseries, but these snapshots do not always portray a safe sleeping environment.
These rules for safe sleeping are universally acknowledged and evidence based. It’s up to you as a family to make choices for you and your baby and as parents, we don’t always get it right every time!
1. Back To Sleep
Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep. This position keeps their airway open and can prevent accidental suffocation. Since the ‘Safe to Sleep’ campaign, (originally the Back to Sleep campaign) was launched in the US in 1994, the incidents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) reduced by 50%.
Sleeping on the back can increase waking times but that is the purpose, babies aren’t meant to sleep through the night at a young age.
2. Empty Sleep Space
Anything in the cot or sleep space is a hazard for suffocation, choking and strangulation.
Toys, cushions and cot bumpers may look beautiful but they pose an unnecessary risk to your baby. Across the world, there are petitions to ban the sale and manufacture of cot bumpers and some States in America have already passed that legislation.
Keep sleep spaces clear.
3. A Firm, Flat Sleep Space
A mattress should fit into a cot or crib snugly and remain firm when covered with a sheet. You don’t want baby sinking into the bedding at all.
4. Smoke Free Environment
Smoke can irritate developing lungs, leading to more coughs, bronchitis, or pneumonia. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke experience more ear infections, asthma and have an increased risk of SIDs. Keep smoking outside where possible and away from your baby’s sleeping space.
5. Safe Co-Sleeping
If you choose to have a baby in your bed, there are a few precautions you can take to keep them safe. These include not sharing a bed if anyone has taken alcohol or drugs as it could increase the risk of rolling over onto the baby. Making sure adult bedding is away from the baby to avoid suffocation and ensuring the baby can’t roll out of bed or become trapped between the wall and the bed. For more guidelines visit https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/co-sleeping/
6. Avoid Overheating
Bbrrr, it’s been a cold few months and the summer seems far away but babies overheating can be a huge problem, even in the winter. Their little hands and feet aren’t always a good measure of temperature so check baby’s chest and neck to see how warm they are. If they are sweating, they are at risk of getting too hot so remove a layer or two of clothing. Summer time can be very difficult to keep temperatures low but keep rooms cool and well ventilated.
Did you know?
Tummy Time play during the day helps protect your baby from Sudden Infant Death? The position works to develop and strengthen the core, back, neck and shoulder muscles that your baby needs to lift their head and roll and move away on their own from risk. SensoBaby is lucky enough to have a qualified Tummy Time professional on board. Cheralize Scholtz is always happy to offer advice to families if you contact us.
Remember, you may know about safe sleep but others looking after your infant may not. Always communicate how to keep your baby safe.
You can access our SensoBaby Safe Sleep Guide here:
To find out more information and download resources on safe sleep, you can visit the following websites:
As always, we ask that you share these helpful tips: when we know better, we do better, and some of these tips may prevent a family from experiencing tragedy and help both parent and baby get the sleep they need.
Special thanks to Martina Jansen for the lovely featured image.