Dr. Noah Makovsky's post about the newest SIDS prevention recommendations, Elizabeth Sopher, CEO and inventor of QuickZip sheets, and co-owner Caroline Portis, a Stapleton resident, share some additional recommendations on how to keep your baby safe at night.
Don’t lose any more sleep over new baby safety recommendations.
One statistic reports that a new parent loses up to 1,000 hours of sleep during their child’s first year, and 45% reported that a top reason for that lack of sleep was worry about baby’s safety. With the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and all the emphasis on the relationship between adequate sleep and overall health, new parents will need some strategies to survive (and even to be able to enjoy your little bundle of joy)!
While the AAP recently issued new recommendations to reduce SUIDs (Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths), a Penn State study last fall showed that up to 93% of parents or caregivers did not always follow the sleep safety recommendations that were in effect before the new recommendations came out.
To make it easy on parents, here is a quick review of the new and expanded AAP recommendations and a few suggestions to make it easier for you to become a Safe Sleep Pro. (As always, specific questions should be directed to your pediatrician or health practitioner.)
2016 AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
- “Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs. “
- In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has established more specific warnings about crib sheets, “which can sometimes be hazardous to babies.” Safety Alert 5137 describes precautions to ensure a safer environment, including: making “sure crib sheets fit snugly on a crib mattress and overlaps the mattress so it cannot be dislodged by pulling on the corner of the sheet” and to “never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress; it can become loose and present an entanglement hazard to young children.”
As with everything, practice makes perfect, and sleep safety will quickly become a habit – just like putting on a seatbelt! (The suggestions below are not official AAP recommendations, but my suggestions to help you put them into action.)
- Decorate the nursery, not the crib. Decorating a nursery is a time-honored and fun tradition that often involves family and friends. Be clear with your crew that the crib can only have a sheet in it, and a sheet that fits tightly and can’t be pulled off at the corners. Bumpers, quilts, pillows, blankets, toys, and everything else are out.
- Teach your parents (and all caregivers) the new rules well. Your relatives and friends might say something like: “Gee, not sure how you survived childhood with a blanket and bumper in your crib, a drop-side crib, and no bicycle helmet,” but these recommendations are in place to save lives, and they were developed in response to real hazards and real infant deaths. You are not likely to give up the use of the latest and safest car seat in response to such a comment, so stand firm on your sleep practices as well.
- Stay safe while nodding off, at naptime, and at nighttime. Treat every sleep the same. It does not matter how long a baby will sleep; work to create the same safe environment.
- Be careful of shortcuts, they might be too good to be true. Babies can make us desperate for sleep, but make sure you evaluate suggestions that sound like they will make your life easier in light of the new safety recommendations.
That number is not just a number to us. We know one of those numbers personally. Tricia, a nurse, lost her baby Isaac at 6 months of age when he got wrapped in a traditional fitted crib sheet. His traditional sheet appeared to fit tightly on the mattress as recommended, but popped off. Tricia believes that the safety recommendations do not go far enough to warn parents of this terrible risk. She is now a tireless crusader for crib sheet safety, practicing random acts of kindness and awareness campaigns on his birthday.
Happily, she and her husband have two awesome and healthy boys, and the youngest is sleeping on QuickZip, a safer alternative, which goes beyond the CPSC recommendations because it wraps all the way around the bottom of the mattress. QuickZip also makes safety easy; it can be quickly changed by zipping off and on the zip-on sheet without having to lift the mattress out of the crib each time. Tricia found QuickZip after their tragedy, and she one of our strongest supporters. (She even got BabiesRUs to carry our sheets after telling them her story.) We keep Isaac in mind and honor his memory by selling safer sheets and following Tricia’s example in spreading the message of crib sheet safety.
Make sure your little ones stay safe when they are the most vulnerable - while they sleep. Read the full story »