Your baby may be ready to sleep with a blanket once she reaches 12 months of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says. Until then, her crib should be kept free of any extra bedding except for fitted sheets that are designed specifically for your baby’s mattress. This will significantly reduce the risk of SIDS, and suffocation.
You can use a sleep sack or other wearable blanket after your baby is old enough (at least 12 months of age) to roll over and push the blankets off. A wearable blanket has armholes and zippers that allow your child to wear it like a coat. Because she’ll stay covered throughout the night, she won’t need any additional blankets over her body.
Before you adjust your child’s sleep environment by adding blankets, always speak to your pediatrician about their recommendations. If you’re unsure of how to properly use any extra bedding with your baby, talk to your doctor at a visiting check-up.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year is known as SIDS. It is a major cause of death among babies, but you can reduce the risk by putting your child down to sleep on his back.
The number of SIDS cases has dropped dramatically since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended putting infants to sleep on their backs in 1992.
Moreover, you want to make sure your baby’s environment is as comfortable and pleasant as possible for her sleep time, to do so, consider the following:
Don’t use pillows, quilts, stuffed animals, stuffed toys (and toys in generel) comforters, sheepskins (also called sleepers), or pillow-like bumper pads in the baby’s crib because they could put your baby at risk for suffocation. Also don’t put your baby down to sleep on a couch, waterbed, beanbag chair, sheepskin throw, or other soft surface.
Bedding (including crib bumpers) that is appropriate for an older child, such as a blanket sleeper or wearable blanket, should not be used with a baby.
Avoid Extra clothing
Dress your baby in no more than one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment. Extra layers or blankets can increase the chance of overheating.
Do not Overheat your baby
Keep the baby’s room at a comfortable temperature for an adult, usually between 68-72° Farenhiet or 20-22° Celcius.
Keep your baby warm but not too warm since overheating can also increase the risk of SIDS.
Keep Cribs Slats space
Cribs with slats that are more than 2 3/8 inches apart are not safe because a baby can get his head between two slats or be trapped against the slats by wrapping clothes around his neck. A baby can also use the slats to stand up and climb over them, possibly falling.
Note that If an infant is in a crib for too long between naps or at bedtime, he may become overtired. Overly tired babies are more difficult to console than well-rested infants and may wake up more often during the night.
Breastfeed your baby
breastfeeding has been shown to reduce SIDS risk and infants who breastfeed tend to be healthier overall.
Do not smoke
Mothers should not smoke during and after pregnancy and should avoid exposing their infants to second-hand smoke. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth. Also, maintain distance from folks who engage in similar endeavors.
Always place babies to sleep on their backs
Always put your babies to sleep on their backs. Do not put them to sleep on their sides. Babies who sleep on their sides and stomachs are at risk for suffocation and SIDS, so always place them on their backs.
Other important factors to keep in mind
- Avoid putting soft objects or loose bedding in the crib. These include pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
- Avoid the use of commercial devices marketed to reduce SIDS risks, such as wedges,positioners, etc.
- Do not let a baby share a bed with others during sleep time. Consider offering a pacifier for naps and at bedtime until the child is 1 year old. Avoid overheating and head covering in infants.
- To help your baby fall asleep more easily, dim the lights and offer some soothing music or white noise instead of a blanket. Try patting or gently rubbing her back until she drifts off to sleep.
The AAP recommends giving your baby a blanket for sleep at 12 months. Until then, keep her crib free of extra bedding except for fitted sheets that are designed specifically to fit the mattress she is sleeping on. This will help you reduce the risk for suffocation and SIDS. Lastly, always promote safe infant sleeping environment for your baby 🙂
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