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Alison Rhodes, "The Safety Mom"

National Child Safety Expert, Alison Rhodes, “The Safety Mom,” is one of the country's leading child safety authorities, providing tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues facing all children - newborns to teens.
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Sleep Safety

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is a tragedy that strikes nearly 3,000 seemingly healthy babies every year. Studies have shown that as many as one-third of these victims may have suffocated when put to sleep on soft bedding such as pillows, comforters, or sheepskins.

When you place your baby on his back or tummy amidst soft bedding or lots of covers, his face can become obscured by the bedding, causing him to suffocate or “rebreathe” his carbon dioxide-rich, exhaled air, rather than fresh, oxygen-rich air. To prevent these tragic fatalities, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have revised their recommendations on safe bedding practices when putting infants down to sleep. The following are the revised sleep recommendations for infants under 12 months:

  • Place your baby on his/her back on a firm tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.

  • Remove all pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft items from the crib.

  • To keep your baby warm at night, consider dressing your baby in a sleeper or warm pajama instead of using a blanket.

  • If you do use a blanket, tuck it around the crib mattress and make sure it comes up only as far as your baby's chest. Keep the blanket away from his or her face.

  • Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep.

  • Do not place your baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface to sleep.

  • Avoid overheating; use light clothes for sleep and keep the room at about 70°F.

Bed sharing or co-sleeping, when your baby sleeps with you in your bed, is a controversial topic with regard to SIDS. Some studies have shown that bed sharing may reduce the risk of SIDS, while other studies have shown that it may in fact increase the risk under certain circumstances. If you do choose to bring your baby into your bed, be sure the sleep surface is not too soft and never place a quilt, blanket, pillow, comforter, or other similar soft material under your baby. In addition, never smoke around your baby or use substances such as alcohol or drugs, which may impair your ability to wake if your baby is having difficulty breathing.

 


 

Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen


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