Keeping your baby comfortable in his bed or crib is one thing, but keeping him safe while he sleeps is also very important. Did you know that seemingly innocent things like stuffed toys in your child’s bed can put his safety at risk? To prevent accidents and conditions such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), you should choose your child’s bed, mattress and bedding wisely and follow standard safety practices when getting your child to sleep.
1. Buy certified products. Buy only bed, mattress and bedding products that have been certified by government or international safety regulatory bodies. If you are buying products from the United States, take note that the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) provides the most extensive certification program for the children’s products industry; so check if the items you are buying have the JPMA seal on them.
2. Buy a well-constructed crib. A well-built crib has no loose or broken parts and it should have been assembled completely without any missing screws and other important parts. Make sure that the crib slats are not too wide apart (not more than 2 inches in between) so that a baby cannot slip his body through them. In addition, make sure that there are no crib parts into which a baby may catch his clothing; for instance, a crib should not have corner posts, or cutout designs into which a baby’s head may become trapped.
3. Choose a firm mattress. Babies sleeping on soft mattresses are at risk of SIDS because soft surfaces increase the chance of the baby overheating, suffocating or re-breathing the carbon dioxide he just exhaled. Make sure that the mattress is firm and that the supporting implements are strong enough to hold the mattress in place so your baby won’t get trapped between the mattress and his bed.
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4. Remove pillows, stuffed toys, and blankets. As is the case with a soft mattress, other soft and fluffy trappings like pillows, bean bags, stuffed animals and unnecessary blankets may be dangerous to your child’s health too. Make sure that you don’t use too many blankets which may get loose and suffocate your baby. Many SIDS experts even advocate not using blankets at all. If your child feels cold, use warm clothing; better yet, opt for a sleeping sack or swaddler, which your baby can wear from the neck down and is closed at the bottom. It will keep him warm and comfortable while also keeping a safe distance from his mouth and nose.
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