Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 and 12 months of age, according to Healthy Children. You can help protect your baby by making sure that he always sleeps in the safest place and environment possible. This safe place may vary according to your home situation or your baby’s location.
Baby’s First Bed
A bassinet or cradle may be comfortable for your baby, especially a newborn. These smaller and portable beds work well if you have limited space or prefer to have your baby sleep in the same room as you. Make sure that the bassinet or cradle is certified for safety by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, or JPMA, and is well-supported on the bottom. It should have a wide base so that it will not tip over if you bump into it. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s size and weight regulations for the bassinet or cradle, and move your baby into a crib when he gets too big.
Moving to the Crib
You can put your baby in a JPMA-certified crib until he reaches toddler age with a firm mattress inside, recommends the American SIDS Institute. Be sure that there are no rough edges or cracked or peeling paint on the crib. There should be no broken or missing slats. Place the crib away from windows, blinds, curtains or wall hangings.
On The Go
If you are traveling with your baby, you can place her to sleep in a portable travel crib that has a firm and tight sleeping surface. If there is not a safe portable bed available, Consumer Reports suggests placing your baby on a thin mat or blanket on the floor for the night. Only put your baby to sleep on firm, flat surfaces. Do not put him to sleep on an air mattress or water bed. He should not be allowed to sleep on a pillow, on the couch or in a bean bag chair.
To prevent SIDS and keep your baby sleeping safely, place him to sleep on his back. Do not use sleep positioners, because they can cause suffocation. There should be no blankets, bumper pads or stuffed animals in his crib, advises the American SIDS Institute, and you should avoid smoking in the home as it can increase the risk of SIDS.
You can help keep your baby safe by making sure she is wearing safe clothing when she goes to sleep. Consumer Reports suggests that you keep the temperature in your baby's room between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and dress her in light clothing. Look for pajamas that are light, snug-fitting and flame resistant. According to the American SIDS Institute, overheating may be a factor in SIDS, so make sure your baby is not sweaty or flushed in her sleep clothing. In the cold months, she can wear a fitted sleep sack to keep her warm without the use of a blanket.