Safe Sleep For New Born Babies
Safe Sleep For New Born Babies
Child sleep specialist, Andrea Grace, has teamed up with the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, to bring you the best advice on a safe nights sleep for your baby.
Step 1: The Cot
Ideally, your baby's mattress should be new. If yours was inherited from a family member or a friend, you need to make sure that it is clean, dry and free from cracks and tears. It should be firm, with no sagging and fit the cot snugly, with no gaps at the edges. Ventilated mattresses with holes are not recommended, as they are impossible to keep clean. Your baby should not sleep on a pillow, bean bag, sofa or water bed.
Step 2: Temperature
The recommended room temperature for a baby is 16-20 degrees Celsius, that's 61-68 degrees Fahrenheit. For many of us, this feels rather cool, but research has shown that it is a safe and comfortable temperature for a baby to sleep in. In ordinary circumstances it is not recommended that central heating be left on over night, unless it is controlled by a thermostat. To see if your baby is too hot, or too cold, you should feel her tummy or neck, but not her hands and feet, as they often feel cool.
Step 3: Positioning
The safest position for your baby to sleep in is on her back, not on her front or side. She should also be placed with her feet to the foot of the cot, with the bedding tucked in and made up to come no higher than her shoulders. This is so that she can't wriggle down under her blankets. Do not position your baby's bed near to a radiator or heater of any kind. The cot should be kept away from direct sunlight too.
Step 4: Bedding
Duvets and pillows are not recommended for babies under one year. It is far safer to use a cotton sheet and light layers of cotton blankets. Electric blankets and hot water bottles should never be used. It is fine to use a baby sleeping bag. They are great for keeping babies cosy, but they need to be cotton, light weight and not have a hood. They should never be used with a duvet or quilt. If additional warmth is needed, a light blanket, cotton sheet or extra clothing is usually all that is necessary, but take care not to over heat. It is most important that the sleeping bag is not too big around the neck, to prevent your baby from slipping down into the bag.
Step 5: Sleeping With You
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in her cot. For the first six months, it is best for her cot to be in a room with you. If there is not enough space, you should have her in the next nearest room, with the doors left open.
You should especially avoid having your baby sleep in bed with you if;
• Either parent is a smoker [even if you don't smoke at home.]
• Either of you have been drinking alcohol or have taken drugs or medication which might cause drowsiness.
• Either of you is very tired.
• Your baby was premature or of low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or five and a half pounds)
• Your baby is under three months old
If you do choose to have your baby sleep in bed with you, you need to be aware of the dangers of rolling over and suffocating her, or of her falling out of the bed or getting trapped between the bed and the wall. Avoid any unneccessary risks by placing her in the cot before you settle down. Having the cot next to the bed is it's ideal position, allowing you to easily check on her during the night.
Step 6: Guidelines for reducing the risk of cot death
• Cut smoking in pregnancy – this includes fathers too.
• Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
• Place your baby on her back to sleep
• Do not let your baby get too hot
• Keep baby's head uncovered - place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot, to prevent wriggling down under the covers
• If your baby is unwell, seek medical advice promptly.
• The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or cot in a room with you for the first six months.
• Do not share a bed with your baby:
1. If you or your partner are smokers – even if you never smoke in bed or in your home.
2. Have been drinking alcohol
3. Take medica