Sleep Awareness Week

We all need sleep; but while teens and adults face the challenge of getting eight full hours of rest, children and babies have a different set of obstacles to a safe night of sleep. During National Sleep Awareness week (March 2 - 9, 2014), we wanted to highlight some safe sleep practices for parents and babies. 


American Baby, in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, took a poll of more than 4,500 new moms with babies one year old and younger. Of those who participated, nearly all said they knew the proper steps for reducing the risk of sleep-related infant death (SIDS). However, few actually put them into practice each night.

Bare is Best: Although it’s tempting to place blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals and pillows in the crib with your baby, it’s best to simply use a firm mattress in the crib. "When women walk through a baby store or flip through a catalog or magazine, they see bumpers, blankets and stuffed animals, and they think they need to buy them to be good parents," says Rachel Moon, M.D., director of academic development at Children's National Health System, in Washington, D.C., and chair of the AAP's task force on SIDS.

Back to Sleep: According to the poll, twenty-eight percent of moms say they have put their baby to sleep on his stomach, a practice that leaves babies at increased risk for SIDS. Common justification for doing so is that babies cry when they’re on their backs or they would choke from reflux. Ultimately, back-sleeping should be as non-negotiable as buckling your child into an infant car seat. "The only way you're going to teach your baby to sleep on his back is to teach your baby to sleep on his back," Dr. Moon says.

Although accepted safety advice can be difficult to implement when a baby is crying or fussy, parents and caregivers should do their best to adhere these guidelines to avoid risk. To get a better understanding of what SIDS is, and how to put your baby to sleep properly each night, watch this video.

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