Category Archives: Safety

October is SIDS Awareness Month

SIDS Awareness Month

If you follow our blog, you may remember that last month was Newborn Screening Awareness Month. We talked a lot about the importance of newborn screening, and about how parents can stay informed.

The month of October is significant for families, too — it’s SIDS Awareness month. Here at the Baby Sleep Site®, we’re committed to joining the effort to raise awareness about what SIDS is and how parents can lower SIDS risk. As we’ve said in past articles, safe sleep habits are just as important as healthy sleep habits.

And, the efforts to educate families about safe sleep habits are working. Since 1994, when the Back to Sleep campaign was launched, rates of SIDS around the globe have dropped significantly.

What Is SIDS?

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) refers to the sudden, unexpected death of a baby under 1 year of age. The death almost always follows a period of sleep. If experts can find no cause of death after a formal investigation, then the death is considered SIDS.

Of course, not every sudden and unexpected infant death is due to SIDS. Some are due to underlying medical conditions (like metabolic disorders, or heart defects.) Others are due to parental neglect. Still others are caused by accidental suffocation.

What Causes SIDS?

There’s no established cause of SIDS. It’s called a “diagnosis of exclusion”, meaning that it’s the diagnosis given after everything else has been ruled out.

Although medical experts haven’t found a cause, they have identified many risk factors that contribute to SIDS. Those include:

  • Physical Factors — Factors like brain abnormalities, low birth weight, and respiratory issues can increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Sleeping Environment Factors — Babies who sleep on their tummies or sides, babies who sleep on overly soft bedding or with loose blankets, and babies who sleep with their parents are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Other Factors — Boys are more likely to die of SIDS than girls, and babies are most vulnerable in their second and third month of life. Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke (both before and after birth) have a higher risk of SIDS. Babies who have a family history of SIDS are also at greater risk.

Can SIDS Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent SIDS entirely. Sometimes, parents do everything right, and they still lose a little one to SIDS.

However, there are preventative steps parents can take, and research has shown again and again that when these steps are taken, SIDS rates are reduced.

  • Expectant mothers can lower SIDS risks by getting quality prenatal care, and by not smoking during their pregnancies.
  • Don’t expose your baby to cigarette smoke after birth. Studies have shown that babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke have higher risks of SIDS.
  • ALWAYS place your baby on his back to sleep. Babies who sleep on their tummies, or on their sides, are at greater risk of SIDS.
  • Make sure your baby’s sleep environment is safe. The mattress should be firm and fit tightly in the crib, and the only bedding should include a snug, fitted sheet. Avoid crib bumpers; these have recently been outlawed in several states. Furthermore, keep all blankets, stuffed animals, etc. out of the crib.
  • Don’t sleep with your baby. Research has indicated that babies who sleep with adults, on adults beds or on couches or chairs, have a much higher risk of SIDS, and of accidental suffocation.
  • Consider putting your baby’s crib in your bedroom. Sleeping with your baby isn’t the safest sleeping arrangement, but sleeping near your baby is. In fact, studies have shown that when a baby sleeps near his mom, his risk of SIDS is low.
  • Prevent your baby from overheating. Dress your baby in light layers, and keep her room at a comfortable temperature. Babies who are too hot are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • If you’re concerned that your baby’s not warm enough, use sleep sacks. These wearable blankets provide warmth, but they don’t carry the same risks as loose, heavy blankets.
  • Run a fan in your baby’s room. Studies have indicated that fans provide better air circulation and reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Prevent respiratory infections as best you can. In your baby’s early months of life, avoid crowded places. Ask that people wash their hands before touching or holding your baby. Research has shown that SIDS sometimes occurs after respiratory infections, like colds.
  • Discuss all of these steps with your baby’s care providers. Make sure anyone who looks after your baby knows about safe sleep practices and will carefully follow these guidelines.

Other SIDS Resources

Looking for more information on what SIDS is, and on how to lower the risk? Use these helpful resources:

http://www.sidscenter.org

http://www.sidsamerica.org/sids-resources

http://www.firstcandle.org/grieving-families/grief-resources/local-support/ (a state-by-state guide to finding local support)

How Can You Help?

As we’ve done in the past, The Baby Sleep Site® would like to ask our readers and community to help us continue to raise awareness for how to reduce the risks associated with SIDS. We ask that you share this post with your family, friends and your community. We will be tracking the number of times this article is shared, and for each share, we will be donating $1.00 to an organization that supports SIDS awareness and research up to a maximum of $750. Feel free come back daily and share this information. The more shares, the more we raise for SIDS Awareness and Research! Last year we had almost 500 shares; we are hoping to beat that number this year.

Here are some ways you can share this article:

  1. Click any of the Social Share buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post with your friends, family and online networks. These buttons will keep a running tally of how many times they are clicked.
  2. Share this post on Twitter with the tag #SIDS by clicking the button below:

  3. Share this link, http://bit.ly/18JLD6Y via email or in any other online forum or social network such as your blog or tumblr. Using this specific link helps us to be able to track how many times it was clicked.

Thank you in advance for helping us promote safe sleep for all babies!

Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Raising SIDS Awareness

If you follow our blog, you may remember that last month was Newborn Screening Awareness Month. We talked a lot about the importance of newborn screening, and about how parents can stay informed.

The month of October is significant for families, too — it’s SIDS Awareness month. Here at the Baby Sleep Site®, we’re committed to joining the effort to raise awareness about what SIDS is and how it can be prevented. As we’ve said in past articles, safe sleep habits are just as important as healthy sleep habits.

And, the efforts to educate families about safe sleep habits are working. Since 1994, when the Back to Sleep campaign was launched, rates of SIDS around the globe have dropped significantly.

What Is SIDS?

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) refers to the sudden, unexpected death of a baby under 1 year of age. The death almost always follows a period of sleep. If experts can find no cause of death after a formal investigation, then the death is considered SIDS.

Of course, not every sudden and unexpected infant death is due to SIDS. Some are due to underlying medical conditions (like metabolic disorders, or heart defects.) Others are due to parental neglect. Still others are caused by accidental suffocation.

What Causes SIDS?

There’s no established cause of SIDS. It’s called a “diagnosis of exclusion”, meaning that it’s the diagnosis given after everything else has been ruled out.

Although medical experts haven’t found a cause, they have identified many risk factors that contribute to SIDS. Those include:

  • Physical Factors — Factors like brain abnormalities, low birth weight, and respiratory issues can increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Sleeping Environment Factors — Babies who sleep on their tummies or sides, babies who sleep on overly soft bedding or with loose blankets, and babies who sleep with their parents are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Other Factors — Boys are more likely to die of SIDS than girls, and babies are most vulnerable in their second and third month of life. Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke (both before and after birth) have a higher risk of SIDS. Babies who have a family history of SIDS are also at greater risk.

Can SIDS Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent SIDS entirely. Sometimes, parents do everything right, and they still lose a little one to SIDS.

However, there are preventative steps parents can take, and research has shown again and again that when these steps are taken, SIDS rates are drastically reduced.

  • Expectant mothers can lower the risk of SIDS by getting quality prenatal care, and by not smoking during their pregnancies.
  • Don’t expose your baby to cigarette smoke after birth. Studies have shown that babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke have higher risks of SIDS.
  • ALWAYS place your baby on his back to sleep. Babies who sleep on their tummies, or on their sides, are at greater risk of SIDS.
  • Make sure your baby’s sleep environment is safe. The mattress should be firm and fit tightly in the crib, and the only bedding should include a snug, fitted sheet. Avoid crib bumpers; these have recently been outlawed in several states. Furthermore, keep all blankets, stuffed animals, etc. out of the crib.
  • Don’t sleep with your baby. Research has indicated that babies who sleep with adults, on adults beds or on couches or chairs, have a much higher risk of SIDS, and of accidental suffocation.
  • Consider putting your baby’s crib in your bedroom. Sleeping with your baby isn’t safe, but sleeping near your baby is. In fact, studies have shown that when a baby sleeps near his mom, his risk of SIDS is low.
  • Prevent your baby from overheating. Dress your baby in light layers, and keep her room at a comfortable temperature. Babies who are too hot are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • If you’re concerned that your baby’s not warm enough, use sleep sacks. These wearable blankets provide warmth, but they don’t carry the same risks as loose, heavy blankets.
  • Run a fan in your baby’s room. Studies have indicated that fans provide better air circulation and reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Prevent respiratory infections as best you can. In your baby’s early months of life, avoid crowded places. Ask that people wash their hands before touching or holding your baby. Research has shown that SIDS sometimes occurs after respiratory infections, like colds.
  • Discuss all of these steps with your baby’s care providers. Make sure anyone who looks after your baby knows about safe sleep practices and will carefully follow these guidelines.

Other SIDS Resources

Looking for more information on what SIDS is, and on how to lower the risk? Use these helpful resources:

http://www.sidscenter.org

http://www.sidsamerica.org/sids-resources

http://www.firstcandle.org/grieving-families/grief-resources/local-support/ (a state-by-state guide to finding local support)

How Can You Help?

The Baby Sleep Site® would to ask our readers and community to help us continue to raise awareness for how to reduce the risks associated with SIDS. We ask that you share this post with your family, friends and your community. We will be tracking the number of times this article is shared and for each time this article is shared, we will be donating $1.00 to an organization that supports SIDS awareness and research up to a maximum of $750. Feel free come back daily and share this information. The more shares, the more we raise for SIDS Awareness and Research! Last year we had almost 300 shares, help try to beat that number this year.

Here are some ways you can share this article:

  1. Click any of the Social Share buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post with your friends, family and online networks. These buttons will keep a running tally of how many times they are clicked.
  2. Share this post on Twitter with the tag #SIDS by clicking the button below:

  3. Share this link, http://bit.ly/sidsawareness via email or in any other online forum or social network such as your blog or tumblr. Using this specific link helps us to be able to track how many times it was clicked.

Thank you in advance for helping us promote safe sleep for all babies!

Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Is Co-Sleeping Dangerous?

A recent article published in USA Today has added fuel to an already-raging fire — the debate over co-sleeping. The article references a new study, which found that while the number of SIDS-related deaths has dropped by over 50% in the past two decades (since the introduction of the “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994 began discouraging tummy sleeping), the drop has plateaued recently. What’s more, the number of SIDS-related deaths as a result of co-sleeping is actually on the rise.

There’s no doubt that co-sleeping is a controversial topic, with parents offering strong and emotional opinions on both sides. Reports like the one in USA Today seem to indicate that co-sleeping is dangerous, but co-sleeping advocates point to research showing that it’s safe. So what do we make of this? Is co-sleeping actually dangerous? Should you and your baby co-sleep?

Defining Our Terms: Co-Sleeping vs. Room Sharing vs. Bed-Sharing

First, let’s get our terms straight. Co-sleeping simply means that a child shares a sleeping space with a parent. With that in mind, co-sleeping can mean a baby sleeping in the same bed as his parents; however, it can also mean a baby in a bassinet next to the bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls that kind of sleeping arrangement “room-sharing”. Room-sharing is considered completely safe, as long as baby’s sleeping area follows safety guidelines (no loose bedding, firm mattress that’s flush with the sides of the bassinet, tight-fitting bottom sheet, etc.) Bed-sharing refers to the practice of parents and children sharing the same bed. Bed-sharing (specifically when infants are involved) carries far more risks than other forms of co-sleeping.

Can Co-Sleeping Be Dangerous?

Room-sharing is safe; bed-sharing, however, is inherently risky, specifically when it involves young infants. As rates of bed-sharing continue to rise in the United States, so do the rates of infant deaths related to bed-sharing. The most obvious danger related to bed-sharing is suffocation. An adult (or an older child) can roll on top of a baby, or the baby can be smothered by the large pillows and heavy blankets that most adults use in bed. Some less obvious dangers include a baby falling from the mattress to the floor, or a baby becoming wedged between the mattress and the headboard/footboard or wall. The mattress itself can also be a threat; if it’s overly soft, a baby can sink too low and suffocate.

As a growing number of babies die due to bed-sharing, health organizations are stepping up their efforts to warn parents. The AAP, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has issued precautions against bed-sharing, warning parents that it puts babies at a much higher risk of suffocation. And warnings like these aren’t just happening on a national scale; they’re happening at the local level, too. Bed-sharing was blamed for causing increasing rates of infant death in Milwaukee, WI, so the city’s health department responded by releasing a highly controversial ad depicting a baby curled up (in an adult bed) next to a large butcher knife. When critics attacked the ad as extreme (and it is), Milwaukee’s Commissioner of Health replied, “…what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee.”

Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe?

Again, room-sharing arrangements are considered very safe. In fact, the AAP recommends room-sharing as the best sleeping arrangement for infants, since it’s been shown to produce lower rates of SIDS than a solitary sleeping arrangement (which places baby in a room by herself.) And while bed-sharing is statistically less safe, advocates of bed-sharing point out that research studies (like the one cited in the USA Today article) fail to account for a variety of factors and ultimately make bed-sharing seem more dangerous than it actually is.

For example, researchers refer to bed-sharing as a baby and an adult sharing an “adult bed.” But an adult bed doesn’t necessarily mean an actual bed — in these studies, it can also mean a couch, or a recliner, or a waterbed (all surfaces that bed-sharing advocates would never recommend using). Research studies also fail to account for safety factors like smoking, or drug and alcohol abuse (parents who smoke or use drugs or alcohol should never bed-share.) Even factors like obesity, which advocates say should be considered (since obese parents are advised not to bed-share), aren’t considered in research studies.

Supporters of bed-sharing claim that when these factors are considered, research shows that safe bed-sharing practices make putting a baby to sleep in an adult bed just as harmless as putting a baby to sleep in a crib. In fact, a 2006 study indicates that when researchers controlled for these kinds of safety factors, rates of infant death related to safe bed-sharing proved to be very low.

UPDATE MAY 2013: A study published on May 20th, 2013 reveals that any kind of bed-sharing, even safe bed-sharing, increases an infant’s risk of SIDS five-fold. The study’s researchers found that even in the safest of settings, bed-sharing presents a dramatic increase in the risk of SIDS. This stands in direct opposition to the 2006 study which found that safe bed-sharing produces low rates of infant death.

Supporters also point to the fact that co-sleeping in all its forms (including bed-sharing) has been the norm for human infants since the dawn of time, while putting babies in cribs, in their own rooms, alone, is a practice that’s less than 200 years old. Anthropologist Dr. James McKenna, an outspoken advocate of co-sleeping, points to these facts as proof that mothers and babies are biologically designed to sleep together, and he asserts that co-sleeping is the best sleeping arrangement for families.

Finally, bed-sharing advocates emphasize that while co-sleeping is no longer standard practice in most Western cultures, it remains the norm in many, many countries around the world. These advocates are quick to point out that if it works for families around the globe, it can work for families in the West.

An important note, though, about comparing bed-sharing in Western countries to bed-sharing around the world: the comparison isn’t always a fair one. Western-style beds (with their soft, elevated mattresses as shown above, and their abundance of pillows and blankets) make bed-sharing more dangerous than do other types of beds found around the world. What’s more, health-habits vary worldwide, making the bed-sharing comparison a tricky one. Western mothers are more likely to smoke than are Japanese mothers, for example; this may partly explain why Japan has an extremely low rate of deaths related to bed-sharing. It’s best to take cultural differences like this into account when looking at bed-sharing from an international perspective.

Should You Co-Sleep Or Not?

Putting a baby to bed is a bit like stepping into a car. There are risks associated with driving, and traveling in a car can certainly kill you. But there are many steps you can take to make driving safe, like wearing a seat belt, obeying traffic signs, and taking proper care of your vehicle. Baby sleep can work the same way. There are risks associated with any sleeping arrangement, but parents can take steps to make their baby’s sleep environment as safe as possible. Parents who educate themselves and practice safe co-sleeping shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about their decision. And of course, neither should parents who choose not to co-sleep; after all, it won’t work for everyone! That was certainly the case with Nicole — during the short time she co-slept, she found herself so worried about harming her son that she hardly slept at all.

A final word: while many forms of co-sleeping are safe, bed-sharing is inherently risk. There are ways to bed-share safely, but the list of precautions is long, and some of the precautions themselves border on extreme. For example, it’s recommended that you remove pillows and blankets from the bed, and even that you put your mattress directly on the floor. It’s also safest if the only people in bed are mom and baby, meaning that if dad is around, he needs to find somewhere else to sleep! What’s more, safety guidelines specify that some people shouldn’t bed-share, including those who smoke and use drugs/alcohol, those who are obese, and those who are “overly exhausted.” That last one is bound to exclude many readers of this blog! If you’re considering bed-sharing, remember to review the list of precautions carefully, and then commit to following them. Otherwise, we recommend that you consider a different method of co-sleeping.

What do you think? Room-sharing? Bed-sharing? No-sharing? Tell us your thoughts on co-sleeping!

At The Baby Sleep Site, we’re committed to remaining judgment-free when it comes to parenting styles. We’ve worked with all kinds of parents (including those who are committed co-sleepers), and we’ve manage to help their babies sleep while respecting them as parents. So whether you room-share or bed-share (or neither!), The Baby Sleep Site has sleep products and services that’ll work for you!

Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

How You Can Help Raise Awareness for SIDS

October is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Awareness Month. At The Baby Sleep Site™, we strongly believe in helping to create as much awareness about SIDS as we can. Safe sleep habits are just as important as healthy sleep habits. Each year we post about SIDS to help to continue to educate parents and families about how to help best ensure that babies are sleeping as safely as possible. The number of babies dying from SIDS continues to decline and a large part of that decline is attributed to raising the awareness of how to reduce the risks of SIDS.

What is SIDS?
SIDS is the diagnosis given when an infant under one year of age dies suddenly and there is no other medial explanation for the death after a complete examination.

What causes SIDS?
New studies and research suggest that some SIDS babies are born with brain abnormalities that make them susceptible to SIDS as infants. These studies have shown that many SIDS infants have abnormalities in the portion of their brain that controls breathing and waking during sleep. Babies born with other brain or body defects may also be more prone to sudden death. Other studies have suggested that lower serotonin levels may also play a role in SIDS.

Additional research and studies out this year suggest additional findings that further support having babies sleep on their backs. A study out of Australia suggested that babies who sleep on their stomachs had lower levels of oxygen than babies who slept on their backs. This research is perhaps one indicator of why babies who sleep on their stomachs may be at a higher risk for SIDS, as the lower levels of oxygen may mean their brains are less able to wake them if they are in danger of not breathing.

SIDS is most likely to occur in infants between one month and 12 months of age with the majority of deaths occurring between 2 and 4 months of age. The risk of SIDS goes down significantly after the first year.

Can SIDS be prevented?
Currently, there is no way to completely prevent SIDS. There are steps parents can take to help reduce the risks associated with SIDS.

  • Place babies on their backs to sleep. If baby falls asleep on his tummy, gently roll baby onto his back.
  • Be sure to use a crib mattress that meets current safety and regulation standards. Crib mattresses should be firm and fit snugly in the crib frame. Crib sheets should be tight fitting.
  • Do not place anything soft, loose or fluffy in the crib such as pillows, stuffed animals or crib bumpers. Crib bumpers have recently be outlawed in several states this year.
  • Use a baby sleep sack or other type of sleeper rather than blankets to help keep baby warm.
  • Make sure your baby does not get too warm while sleeping (Click here to read about baby’s ideal temperature). Use light sleep clothing or sleep clothing that helps to regulate body temperature and keep the room temperature at a level that is comfortable.
  • Do not place baby to sleep on any soft surface such as a pillow top mattress, pillows, comforters, water beds or sheepskin.
  • Good prenatal care and breastfeeding can also help to lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Babies with mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at three times the risk for SIDS and babies’ exposure to passive smoke can double the risk of SIDS.
  • Educate those in your life and those who care for your baby about safe sleep practices.

For More Information about SIDS and SIDS Resources

Here are some additional resources for where you can find additional information about SIDS, safe sleep practices for babies and support resources for families who have lost a child to SIDS:

  • National Sudden & Unexpected Infant/Child Death & Pregnancy Loss Resource Center- www.SIDSCenter.org
  • National Institute of Child Health & Human Development- SIDS “Back to Sleep” Campaign- www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/

How You Can Help

The Baby Sleep Site™ would to ask our readers and community to help us continue to raise awareness for how to reduce the risks associated with SIDS. We ask that you share this post with your family, friends and your community. We will be tracking the number of times this article is shared and for each time this article is shared, we will be donating $1.00 to an organization that supports SIDS awareness and research up to a maximum of $500. Here are some ways you can share this article:

  • Click the blue “Facebook” Share button at the bottom of this post. This button will keep a running tally of how many times it is clicked.
  • Share this post on Twitter with this link: http://bit.ly/sleepsafely and tag with #safesleep. This way we can track how often it was shared on Twitter.
  • Share this link, http://bit.ly/sleepsafely via email or in any other online forum or social netowrk such as your blog, tumblr, or LinkedIn. Using this specific link helps us to be able to track it.
  • Together, we can do our part to help promote safe sleep for all babies!

Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

SIDS Awareness and Baby Sleep Bags

With the end of October comes the end of SIDS Awareness month for 2010. Here at The Baby Sleep Site, we were happy to have spent time sharing with our readers how to help reduce the risks for SIDS. Based on your comments, so many of our readers are already using or have used baby sleep sacks to help keep babies warm while sleeping in place of blankets or other bedding. It’s efforts like these that have helped reduce the number of babies lost to SIDS.

We had a number of really great comments about SIDS Awareness and about the baby sleep sacks for this post and just wanted to share a couple of them with you here:

Sleep sacks are the only things my son wants to sleep in. He wakes up happy and warm (not too warm, though) – I love them!

Wow, I have never heard of these particular sleep sacks. Thanks for the giveaway! I’m due next month and would love to own this.

I love that you’re donating to First Candle!!

Wow, I am shocked at the stats of SIDS and am happy to see people are taking the time to make more people aware of this. I think the sleep bag looks great, I can’t wait for my little man to try it out!

I’ve just shared this post on my blog. I hope it gets the information out to more people and saves lives.

There were almost 100 entries for the giveaway, so we’ve decided to round up and send a $100 donation to First Candle- a national nonprofit health organization to advance infant health and survival.

There were a couple of questions in the comments about using baby sleep bags that we would like to take a moment to answer here:

Q: How do I keep my baby from hurting himself when he tries to stand up and walk in his baby sleep bag?
A: Depending on how big your baby or toddler is, he might need to move up to a bigger size to allow for the ability to move about better. On the Baby Sleep Bag’s website, they mention that some toddlers become very adept at walking and even running in their sleep sacks.

Q: What should a baby wear under their baby sleep bag while sleeping?
A: Dress your baby in one or more layers of natural fiber sleepwear according to the season for their comfort. The Baby Sleep Bag website FAQ recommends not using baby pajamas made from polyester fabric as it does not release heat or moisture very well.

Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag
And last but not least, the winner of the Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag is Chantel who has been notified and chose the French Navy Baby Sleep Bag. Congratulations, Chantel and many thanks to everyone who left a comment or entered to the giveaway and helped support our efforts to promote SIDS Awareness!


In addition to our SIDS Awareness- Reducing the Risks post, here are our other posts for SIDS Awareness month:

Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Baby Pajamas for Better Baby Sleep and
Buying Online


As part of SIDS Awareness Month, today’s article we talk about choosing and buying safe baby pajamas online, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other risks that could harm your baby. You want to make sure the baby pajamas you choose are best for sleep, comfort, and, most importantly, your baby’s safety.

Baby Pajamas Sizes

Your baby’s pajamas should not be too large or loose-fitting. Although you know your baby will be growing fast, avoid the temptation to buy two sizes too large expecting her to fit in them in the next couple of months. You want your baby’s pajamas to fit snugly, but not be so tight that it cuts off circulation, either.

Keep in mind, when you choose pajama sizes, that there may be times where you have a onesie underneath and, of course, a diaper (until your baby is potty trained). Most types of baby pajamas will be sized according to your baby’s weight, however, I found that many times pajamas shrink after you wash them, depending on the material. Therefore, even if I bought the “right” size, the pajamas would be too small within a short time thereafter. Similar to buying your own clothing, keep in mind shrinkage. I personally found that baby pajamas tends to shrink more than regular baby clothing, so you may want to buy one size up and then wash them prior to first use.

Baby Pajamas Material

Weather is obviously the biggest influence on how thick your baby’s pajamas should be and whether they are shorts or footed pajamas. The younger your baby, the more likely you probably need footed pajamas because those baby socks just don’t stay on very well, do they? When the weather is warm, choose a lightweight material such as cotton. Remember, the ideal temperature for your sleeping baby is 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit or 20-21 degrees Celsius. Overheating your baby can increase the risk of SIDS and using a fan can reduce your baby’s SIDS risk by 72%.

For cooler temperatures, we learned last week that merino wool may be the best material to help regulate your baby’s temperature over other material such as fleece. Merino wool has higher moisture vapor absorption which means your baby is less likely to get damp from perspiration and is better at protecting your baby from chilled air. Both of these features can significantly help with keeping a baby from overheating. Additionally, merino wool is a natural and renewable fiber which may be preferable over a more synthetic fabric like fleece. So, just like your baby sleep sacks can be made of merino wool, you might consider giving your baby pajamas made of merino wool, too.

Baby Pajamas Online

Quality baby pajamas can be found online, rather than your local clothing store. I personally do a lot of shopping online from Christmas gifts to groceries these days (which ironically helps us save money by avoiding impulse buys). During the Christmas rush, I avoid the parking lot nightmares by using Amazon Prime for unlimited 2-day shipping for no additional cost and ship direct to my out-of-state family or to my home for wrapping.

One great way to buy online is to look at the reviews. Having another parent endorse a product is something you just can’t have offline. Now that I shop so much online, I feel anxious about some of my purchases in my local store because I haven’t seen how many stars it’s gotten or been able to read another person’s experience. It’s sort of “weird” but that’s how much I’ve become accustomed to online research before purchasing. :D

The biggest challenge in finding baby pajamas online, and clothing in general, is finding the right size and something that will look as good one your computer screen as it does in real life. However, what’s nice about shopping online is knowing what sizes are there or not without hunting on the rack for the size you need. Since it’s not very important, to me, how pajamas or other lounge wear looks, I am fine if the pajamas aren’t quite as cute in real life as they were online as long as they are comfortable and, most importantly, safe for my children.

What are your favorite baby pajamas and do you buy online?

Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

SIDS Awareness Month –
Helping Reduce the Risks

Sadly, in the United States, approximately 2,300 babies die unexpectedly from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS typically occurs in babies between one month and one year of age and the cause of death is undetermined. Fortunately, a nationwide awareness campaign promoting what parents can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS has resulted in a 50% decline the occurrence of SIDS in the past 20 years.

Nationally, October is known as SIDS Awareness Month as part of the on-going efforts to continue to help people learn more about what they can do to reduce the risk of SIDS in babies. It’s not just parents who need to be aware of the measures to take to reduce SIDS, but also child care providers, relatives, grandparents, babysitters and health care professionals.

It’s likely that many of us have either been directly affected by SIDS or know someone who has been touched by SIDS. Our babies and children are the most precious gifts, so please learn all you can about safe sleep for babies and share that information with other new parents, relatives, friends and anyone who might care for a baby under the age of one.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following safe sleep practices:

  • Place baby on her back to sleep for bedtime and naps. Because baby can roll onto her tummy from her side, placing baby to sleep on her side is not recommended.
  • Don’t put baby to sleep with a blanket or over-bundle them in clothing to sleep.
  • Avoid letting baby get too hot when sleeping. Baby could be too hot while sleeping if you notice that your baby is sweaty, flushed or has a heat rash.

You can read more here about the recommendations from AAP for safe sleep environments and tummy time:
American Academy of Pediatrics Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep

Baby Sleep Bags

Merino Kids Baby Sleep BagBaby sleep bags or baby sleep sacks are widely used by parents in the place of a blanket. By design, they are made to help babies stay warm at night but won’t cover baby’s head, can’t be kicked off and still allow room for movement and shifting while sleeping. Sleeps sacks are generally available in merino wool, cotton and fleece. Previously, the use of a baby sleep bag was primarily focused on replacing blankets in the crib to ensure bedding stays away from baby’s face. Recently completed research suggests that the type of material is also an important consideration to help avoid overheating in babies when they sleep.

The new research indicates that merino wool may be the best option for helping regulate baby’s temperature and comfort over other material like fleece. Merino wool has higher moisture vapor absorption which means baby is less likely to get damp from perspiration and is better at protecting baby from chilled air while still allowing moist air to disperse. Both of these features can significantly help with keeping a baby from overheating. Additionally, merino wool is a natural and renewable fiber which may be preferable over a more synthetic fabric like fleece.

Merino Kids

As part of promoting safe sleep practices and SIDS Awareness Month, we are fortunate to be teaming up with Baby Sleep Bags to give away a Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag (retail value $119) to one The Baby Sleep Site™ reader. The Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bags are available for babies 0-2 years of age and for toddlers 2-4 years of age. These baby sleep bags are cuddly soft and made with all natural pure unbleached merino wool for the inner layer with an outer layer of all natural cotton which make them allergy safe and perfect for babies with eczema or sensitive skin. You can read more here about how Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bags help regulate body temperature and the other beneficial characteristics of merino wool.

Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag

The winner will be able to choose from Fairy Rose or French Navy colors for their sleep sack. Please read below for instructions on how to enter to win.

As part of The Baby Sleep Site’s™ on-going commitment to promoting SIDS awareness and safe sleep practices, we will also be donating $1 per entry or comment* in the giveaway to First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization to advance infant health and survival.

You can enter the giveaway using one the methods listed below. You don’t have to enter the giveaway but please feel free to comment and add to the donation to First Candle.

Deadline to enter is Sunday, October 31, 2010, 8:59 p.m. EDT.

Here is how you can enter:

(*Please note this prize is available to US residents only.)

1. Leave a comment below – 1 entry

2. Tweet to promote SIDS Awareness with a link back to this post and the tag #SIDSAwareness. The tag will allow us to track and locate your tweet entry. – 1 entry per tweet. Can tweet daily.

Sample Tweet: “October is SIDS Awareness Month. Read how to reduce the risks of SIDS http://bit.ly/a3Z6Rw #SIDSAwareness”

OR

Sample Tweet: “October is SIDS Awareness Month. Donation for every entry here: http://bit.ly/a3Z6Rw #SIDSAwareness”

3. Subscribe to this blog – 1 entry

The Baby Sleep Site Blog via RSS or via E-Mail.

4. Share this post on Facebook and remind your friends that October is SIDS Awareness month- 1 entry

5. Blog about SIDS Awareness and this giveaway on your blog. Include a link to this post in your blog post. Please post a link to your blog post in the comments. Blog posts must be posted publicly and not on membership sites to be entered. – 10 entries

*Note: Maximum donation will be capped at $1,000

Tagged , , , | 61 Comments

5 Nursery Safety Tips

October is SIDS Awareness Month and a very important month here on The Baby Sleep Site™. We will have several articles about SIDS prevention to raise awareness among parents and parents-to-be. We will also have a giveaway! Today, we have a guest post with great tips on nursery safety.

According to SIDS.org, “SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.” (Willinger et al, 1991). This must be one of the most difficult things a person can ever go through. :( This article will cover 5 tips on how to keep your baby’s nursery safe. As the month rolls buy, we will share additional SIDS facts as well.

Five Nursery Safety Tips

by Alan Riley

A new baby can bring overwhelming joy to new parents. Equally, designing a new nursery should be a fun experience. However, keeping your baby safe is as important as creating a beautiful nursery. Although the task might seem daunting, there are a few easy steps for ensuring a safe environment for your baby.

Crib Placement

Place the crib near where you sleep, but avoid sleeping with your newborn. Although being in the same bed might make late night feedings easier, there is the high risk the baby could be smothered or crushed during the night. Additionally, introducing the baby to his or her own crib from the start will be easier than trying to convince baby to use the crib later. (Nicole’s note: If you do want to co-sleep, read more information on Co-sleeping here.)

Consider the area around the crib. As your baby gets older and starts to climb, keep the crib far from windows or other enticing items, since babies have not yet developed the concept of falling and injury. Remove anything hanging nearby, such as curtain cords to avoid the risk of entanglement or choking.

An absolute necessity is to ensure that the entire room is smoke-free even before you bring your baby home. The use of tobacco products around babies has been strongly linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Crib (or Cot) Style

With a plethora of crib styles from which to choose, and the high prices of some of them, you might be tempted to simply use an older crib from your childhood. Many older cribs, though, are potential hazards to your baby. Modern cribs typically do not contain lead paint, whereas antique and aged cribs are more likely to contain this highly toxic material.

Make sure that the crib is sturdy and constructed with relatively high sides and close slats. Older cribs may have gaps in which baby can get stuck, or worse, escape! The American Association of Pediatrics recommends a distance of no more than 2 3/8” between slats on the crib, and the distance from the mattress to the top rail should be at least 26”. The safest style of crib is one where the sides are stationary, avoiding any possibility of your baby falling out of the crib.

Mattresses and Sheets

For a crib mattress, the firmer, the better. A soft mattress makes it difficult to keep the bedding tight and prevent your baby from re-breathing stale air. The mattress should fit snugly against all four sides of the crib with no room for your baby’s limbs to get pinched or trapped. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib.

Sheet sets for your newborn should be constructed with elastic running along the entire fitted sheet. Fitted sheets with this edging, like those in the JoJo Ladybug Crib Bedding Set, provide a secure and safe fit over the mattress making it almost impossible for the baby to pull the sheet off the mattress. Other alternatives include sheets that slip onto the mattress like a pillowcase, while still others attach directly to the mattress. For babies with sensitive skin, use sheets made with 100% organic cotton to avoid any trace of residual pesticides.

Crib Bumpers

The American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS First Candle Alliance, and Health Canada argue against the use of bumper, saying they increase the risk of smothering, and entanglement. Since many crib sets include bumpers, you need to decide what to do with them.

The first solution is to simply not use the bumper. If you want to use the bumper, make sure that it’s well-constructed, there are 12 – 16 ties on both the top and bottom, the ties are between 7 – 9 inches in length, and there are no gaps or overlaps in the bumper.

Another option is a mesh bumper, like those from BreatheableBaby. This style prevents possible re-breathing of air while keeping limbs safe within the crib.

Finally, a common fear is that babies will hit their heads on the solid rails of the crib. To avoid this, opt for bumpers similar to those produced by Go Mama Go Designs that surround each slat from top to bottom.

Safe Bedtime

At bedtime, always place your newborn on his or her back. Stomach sleeping increases the risk that the baby will breathe stale air though the bunching of material from the sheets. Infants who sleep on their sides or stomachs are at a higher risk of SIDS.

Placing your baby at the bottom of the crib ensures that he or she won’t scoot down further under the covers. A baby sleeping bag or sleeping suit eliminates the need for any sort of covering in the crib. The sleeping suit also prevents covers from being kicked off during the night. Be sure that the crib is free of toys, pillows, and comforters, as well.

Infants cannot regulate their own temperature, so it’s important to create an environment that is warm without being hot. Crib bedding sets in some countries like the UK include a Tog rating to determine how warm your baby will be. Keep in mind that Tog ratings for bedding do not include the Tog rating of bedtime clothing. The recommended Tog total is 8 Togs in a nursery that is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

About the Author

Alan Riley is the publisher of www.beautifulbeddingsets.com, a site devoted to helping people find the perfect bedding for their needs. This site features a variety of beautiful crib bedding sets, many of which are from the JoJo Designs Crib Bedding Collection. The Riley family lives in leafy Melbourne, which is in the far South East corner of Australia. Alan loves to spend his leisure time out sailing, an activity that is very conducive to sleep by the end of the day! He and his family are also active members of their local church.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

5 Child Proofing Tips for Your Toddler’s Room

When you start to think about transitioning your toddler to a big-boy or big-girl bed, toddler proofing comes to mind because one of the scarier things is the trouble they can get into when they are in their room alone and not sleeping. If toddler proofing doesn’t come to mind, it should. Between 1990 and 2007, in the U.S., about 15,000 children each year visited the ER from furniture-tipping injuries and about 300 died each year. :(

Up until now, many of your babies have been in a crib, where they can play safely, and you know they won’t get into trouble, because you have taken the time baby proofing his crib and nursery. But, once toddlers taste the freedom of being able to get in and out of bed, it doesn’t take long for a curious toddler to explore his room and possibly do things they aren’t supposed to do (like climbing a piece of furniture, which can be fatal).

Here are 5 toddler proofing tips for keeping your toddler’s room safe:

1. Furniture and windows

One of the most important things you can do is make sure your furniture will not fall and land on your toddler. It seems like that dresser or TV is sturdy enough to stay put, but when your toddler climbs up on them, his weight added to the front can pull the whole thing forward and down on top of him. It can be a fatal accident, unfortunately. To keep your toddler safe from falling furniture and toddler proof his room, make sure you use Furniture Wall Straps to secure the furniture to the wall.

Another scary thing that can happen in your toddler’s room, especially during beautiful Fall months, when you might want the windows open, is he can climb out of his window. He may have never done it before, but, as you know, toddlers are unpredictable and do the darnedest things and may decide one day to chase that butterfly he sees. Of course, living on the second floor makes this more dangerous, but even on the first floor, we don’t want our children roaming the streets, obviously. You might consider a mesh window guard or window stopper.

2. Choking Hazards

Although toddlers stop putting as many things in their mouths than when they were babies, toddlers are still unpredictable and do put things in their mouths. Make sure you rid the room of any choking hazards when you are toddler proofing the room. Anything that fits into an empty toilet paper roll is a good rule of thumb to use when considering a potential choking hazard.

3. Electricity and wiring

Most of us probably received quite a few of those outlet plug covers that you stick in the outlet at our baby showers. A safer alternative in your toddler’s room is to install a safe plate for your electric outlet. Children learn quickly by watching you remove and replace the outlet covers when you vacuum or plug in a new clock, for example, and start to try to copy you. You may want to be a bit more secure in your toddler’s room, when you aren’t right there watching everything she is doing.

If you have a lot of wires in your toddler’s room from the lamp, CD player, humidifier, etc. you may want to consider concealing the wires using a wire gaurd when you are toddler proofing. This can limit curiosity about “what happens when I do this?” that toddlers seem to fall victim of more often than not. it might just save a lamp from falling on her head.

4. Stairs

If your toddler’s room is on the second floor like our bedrooms, you will probably want to have a safety gate at the top of the stairs, if you didn’t already have one from the baby days. Once she can get out of bed, she may wander out of her room and down the stairs. This can be dangerous if she’s not good at going down stairs, yet, especially if she is half asleep, but even if she is, you may want a gate just so you know where she is. One day she may just wake up from her nap and come downstairs when you don’t know and you could be in the shower or taking the trash out. It only takes a few minutes to get into trouble. As she gets older, you will use the gate less and less until you no longer need it…until your next baby, that is. :)

5. Monitoring

If you are still nervous about your roaming toddler, you may want to invest in a video monitor. We didn’t have a video monitor until our son was a toddler and transitioned to his big boy bed. We just wanted to be sure of what he was doing and when he actually fell asleep. It was especially important because we have three levels to our house (we have a basement), so once my son could open doors, we didn’t want to be in the basement and he go outside or something. It was also very cute to watch him sleep. :) We had the Summer Infant Day & Night Video Monitor, though it wasn’t color.

We all vary in terms of how nervous we get about our toddler’s new found freedom. Some of us will be very nervous and others won’t ever have a gate or monitor. How large your house is, the layout of the house, and what’s in your toddler’s room may be big factors, as well. Whether you are nervous nellie or not, I hope these 5 tips for toddler proofing your child’s room were helpful.

Share Your Toddler Proofing Stories and Tips

Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Baby Really Sleep on Her Tummy?

I remember when I brought my son home from the hospital, my mom came to help for a week and she told me a couple of times that I should let him sleep on his tummy and maybe that was going to be the only way he was going to sleep. As if!

I was a new and scared mom and EVERYTHING I read said to put baby on his back. There was no wavering in the things I read. Come on mom, the AAP constantly says “Tummy to Play, Back to Sleep” and that’s what I wanted to follow, too. After all, they know more than me, right?

Occasionally, I get a parent who says that they could only get their baby to sleep on her tummy, so that’s what they did. Is that parent wrong to have her baby sleep on her tummy? Should babies really be sleeping on their tummy and that’s why we all struggle so much with sleep these days?

Pam, of SIDS of Illinois said it very well:

“The great thing about being a parent is that you get to make the decisions. You weighed the information available to you then decided that for your child, belly sleeping worked best. That’s your right as a parent.”

and I couldn’t agree more.

It gets confusing when you have the Dr. Sears site say something like “Remember that this is only a statistical correlation. It does not mean that if your baby sleeps on her tummy she’s going to die of SIDS. Current SIDS rates are around one in a thousand babies; meaning that there’s a 99.9 percent chance your child will remain a healthy little girl regardless of her sleep position.”

Add to this, the study at Arizona State University last Fall stating that “…researchers found that the number of babies who have developed flat-headedness has dramatically increased since 1992. The increase coincides with the American Academy of Pediatrics launch of a ‘Back to Sleep’ educational campaign that recommended parents place their infants on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

These two things almost make you feel a little more comfortable with tummy sleeping. I guess that’s typical, something comes out as good for you, then bad for you, and then good for you again.

For ME, it was the chance of regret that made me persevere in helping my son sleep on his back (or rather on his side, actually) even though there was a possibility he might sleep better on his tummy. We struggled SO much with sleep, but even if it was a rare occurrence, IF something happened to my son I would forever wonder whether it was the tummy sleeping. Forever, I might blame myself for ignoring the AAP’s recommendation. It was just too big of a risk and too heavy of a burden that I might have that I personally chose that tummy sleeping was NOT an option to solve my baby’s sleep problems. I saw the “back to sleep” issue as a temporary one, until he learned to roll over on his own.

In our case, it was 100% true. My son HATED to play on his tummy. He HATED tummy time. But, one day, he did flip onto his tummy and he did start to get used to tummy time and lo and behold, he flipped to his tummy to sleep and he slept sooo much better! Once he started rolling onto his tummy to sleep, I didn’t bother rolling him back. Even though he slept so much better, just like my mom said he would, I still don’t regret my decision one bit (and it’s not because I don’t want to admit my mom was right! :D).

There are always so many what if’s and if you have heard of The Butterfly Effect, you know that any small change in my son’s history might give me a different boy than I have today (or maybe I wouldn’t have my boy :(). Today, I have a son who is reading at the age of 4, counts to 100 (by 1′s, 10′s and working on 5′s), and knows that if he has 5 tens, he has 50, and all the other numbers to 100. He is doing so well, and though he is still that persistent child who is difficult to parent some days, he’s doing so awesome that I wouldn’t go back and change many things in our past. I do wish that I knew more back then that I know now, but it warms my heart so much to share it with all of you and, hopefully, save you the tears that both my son and I shed way back when.

I pass no judgment on parents who make different decisions than I did. I’m a worry wart and follow rules to the letter, sometimes. And, then there are times you need to make your own rules. We all need to make the rules that make sense for our family. You know your baby and your situation best and many times, your instincts will take you further than you think. However, it would be irresponsible of me not to stress the importance of putting your baby on his back to sleep. SIDS rates have dramatically decreased with the “Back to Sleep” campaign. So, please do take your time to review the AAP’s guide to safe sleep, so you can make your own informed choice.

How does/did your baby sleep on his back?

Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments