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The ABCs of safe baby sleep: How to ensure your baby sleeps well and safely

Readers Lounge By Esther Muchene
Proper care needs to be taken to ensure your baby is safe as they sleep (Photo: Shutterstock)

A proper bedtime routine is one of the most crucial steps a parent can take for the safety of their baby. The wrong move could easily put them at risk of cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Although SIDS remains a mystery to many doctors, it’s typically associated with sudden death while sleeping. 

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Many factors can predispose a child to cot death. Some are abnormalities like low birth weight and family history but a lot of it has to do with where the baby sleeps and how they sleep.

Every parent needs to know what they can do to prevent this. This is how. 

1. Lay them on their back

It’s very risky to lay your baby to sleep on their sides or on their stomach. Those two positions increase the risk of suffocation because their airways can easily be blocked in those sleeping positions. The best position is on their back because there are no airway obstructions.

2. Don’t sleep in the same bed

It’s better to have them sleep in their baby cot rather than in the same bed with you. There are so many hazards like pillows and heavy blankets. In many cases, parents could actually be the main risk because you might roll over and sleep on them by mistake. For that reason, get them a baby cot. 

3. Sleep in the same room

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You might not be sleeping in the same bed but you should have the cot in the same room. Infants who sleep in the same room as their parents wake up more often, which is what reduces the risk of SIDS. Infants who are transitioned to their own rooms too early often sleep deeper and for longer hours which is risky. It might be hard for parents to get enough sleep when they have the baby in the room but, the fact that they wake up more is actually a prevention measure.

Lay baby on her back to prevent blocking her airways (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Keep the baby cot clear 

There should be no blankets, no toys or anything else for that matter apart from their mattress. Placing these items in the cot is a hazard because they can cause suffocation. If you want to keep your baby warm on a cold day, just dress them warmly. 

5. Ensure they’re not too warm

You shouldn’t go overboard even if it’s a cold day. Infants and babies aren’t able to regulate their temperature well and this also increases the chances of a sudden death. Always be on the lookout for signs of overheating like excessive sweating.

8. Get them a firm mattress

It might seem like a good idea to get them a soft and comfortable mattress but in real sense, this increases the risk of suffocation. That’s why they shouldn’t sleep on a regular mattress. The mattress in their cot should be firm and safety approved.

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9. They need a well ventilated room

If your baby is transitioning to their own room early, ensure that it’s a well ventilated room. The risk is higher when the room they’re sleeping in is stuffy which will obscure breathing and increase the risk of overheating.

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