Baby's health and safety are paramount concerns for new mums, who'll do everything in their power to make sure bub is cozy and sound. This means reading up on all the best practices for infant care, including safe sleep practices for newborns.
During their first year of life, babies are at risk of a condition called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Often referred to as SIDS, this term refers to the inexplicable death of a child under a year old. Though SIDS is not terribly common, affecting 0.028% of infants in Australia each year, the serious and tragic nature of the condition are motivation enough to inform all parents of important risk prevention steps.
In recognition of SIDS Awareness month, a worldwide public health initiative aimed at teaching new parents to avoid common risk factors of SIDS, let's take a look at the steps you can take in home to keep bub safe during sleep.
- If you're able to breastfeed your baby, doing so is a check in the prevention column. Babies who are nursed for at least two months have their risk of SIDS cut in half.
- Still lighting up? Pre-pregnancy is the best time to quit, but it's never too soon. Mums who smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy increase bub's risk of SIDS by a whopping four times, and even secondhand exposure to lingering smoke in homes, cars, and on clothes creates a risk factor.
- The best place for bub to sleep to prevent SIDS risk is in their crib, bassinet, or a Moses basket. They should be close to parents, and they won't need pillows, blankets, or anything designed to position them -- these are suffocation hazards, so control the room temperature or use blanket garments to keep them warm if needed.
- If you should choose to co-sleep, make sure baby doesn't sleep between parents. They must have a flat, clear space free of sheets, blankets, and pillows, and should still be on their back. Co-sleeping shouldn't take place with anyone but parents, and if someone's intoxicated or is a smoker, baby should stay in the crib. Be very careful not to co-sleep with baby on an armchair or sofa, where poor positioning dramatically increases their suffocation risk.
To learn more about safe infant sleep and connect with a team of safe sleep and loss support professionals, visit Red Nose Australia.