Safe to Sleep Campaign: Safe and Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies
Stamford, CT — Sep 11, 2013 / (http://www.myprgenie.com) — Healthy sleep habits
are as important for your baby’s growth, development and well-being as proper
nutrition. Unfortunately, our babies are not born with a full set of sleep skills; in fact,
we have to teach them. It is our job as parents to give our children the foundation to
establish healthy sleep patterns early on. Making sleep a priority for our babies gives
them the best chance at avoiding sleep problems in toddlerhood, childhood and
beyond. Creating positive sleep associations however, is only part of the larger
picture that is healthy sleep. Ambassador for the National Institute of Health Safe to
Sleep Campaign, Kelly Weygandt – Founder of Clayton Babies Sleep Consulting, a
10-year Pediatric Registered Nurse and Certified Child Sleep Consultant by The
Family Sleep Institute – offers these tips to ensure that your baby builds safe and
healthy sleep habits.
Without a safe sleep environment even the most well-meaning parents are missing
the mark on healthy sleep. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National
Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome, or SIDS, is the number 1 cause of death in babies ages 1 month to 1
year. Thanks to the very successful Back to Sleep campaign started in 1996 to
reduce to number of these deaths we now put our babies to sleep on their backs.
While SIDS deaths are down considerably in the United States the NICHD has
launched a new campaign in hopes of driving those numbers down even more. The
Safe to Sleep campaign does not replace Back to Sleep but instead builds upon its
crucial message by continuing to educate parents and caregivers about the
importance of putting babies to sleep on their backs for EVERY sleep. In addition,
Safe to Sleep has added 2 more important guidelines to focus on reducing the
number of other sleep related deaths.
First, babies should be placed on a firm, safety approved, sleep surface with a tight
fitting sheet. These surfaces can include cribs, bassinets or portable play yards as
long as they are currently safety approved. Further, while it may be tempting, babies
should never be placed on a couch, bed or other soft surface, or in a car seat,
swing, carrier or other device to sleep. The campaign recommends that babies sleep
in a separate but nearby sleep area, such as in a bassinet in the parents’ room, for
up to 6 months whenever possible.
Second, the sleeping area should be completely free of all bumpers, loose bedding,
blankets, pillows, toys and other objects. In short the crib should be totally empty.
Only after the child’s 1st birthday should you begin to introduce a small blanket and soft toy to the crib.
The Safe to Sleep campaign goes on to outline other ways you can reduce your risk:
· get prenatal care
· breastfeed baby
· offer a pacifier not attached to a strap at sleep times
· do not smoke around baby
do not allow baby to get overheated during sleep- room should be cool at
around 68 degrees
· follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations on vaccines
avoid products that claim to aid in reduction of SIDS or other sleep related
do not rely on home heart or breathing monitors unless prescribed by your
· provide baby with lots of supervised tummy time during wakeful periods
Ensuring your child has a safe sleeping environment from the start will allow you to
focus on building healthy sleep habits. For more information on the Safe to Sleep
campaign and safe sleeping guidelines please visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/.