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Safe Sleep

Do’s and Don’ts for Safe Sleep

We’re the kind of people who notice everything, from trends in sleep data to the slightly crooked diplomas hanging on our favorite doctor’s office wall. We studied many a nursery in perfecting Nanit. And, in doing so, we noticed something important – some sleep environments weren’t completely optimized for safety. Bumpers, blankets and soft toys showed up in many cribs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), such soft items are a safety hazard and can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Until babies reach the age of one and actually master the art of rolling over, they don’t have the strength or skills to get out of a potentially dangerous situation. So even something seemingly innocent like a blankie or bumper ties could lead to suffocation or choking.

As parents, we get that it’s counterintuitive in a way – the very things that seem like they’d make baby’s sleep environment extra cuddly and comfy are actually unsafe. So we put together this handy tip sheet of do’s and don’ts, that way you’ll always know just how to create a safe sleep environment for baby.  

Safe Sleep Tips

Sleep do’s and don’ts for children 12 months of age and younger, in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  1. Keep it bare

Babies only really need three basic things for sleep: 1) a crib that meets safety standards, 2) a firm, full-size crib mattress and 3) a fitted sheet. The AAP warns, “Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and the fitted sheet. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion, or sheepskin.”

  1. Ditch the soft “extras”

The following crib items pose entrapment, suffocation or strangulation risks:  

  • Wedges and positioners
  • Bumper pads
  • Soft toys and stuffed animals
  • Sheepskins
  • Pillows
  • Blankets, quilts, comforters
  • Loose bedding
  1. Balance back and tummy time

Always place babies on their back for sleep, whether it’s day or night. The AAP also advises incorporating supervised “tummy time” during the day, which strengthens infant neck and shoulder muscles, plus prevents flat head spots.

  1. Choose light layers

The sleep environment should be cool and comfortable, and so should baby’s sleep attire. The AAP recommends dressing baby “in no more than one extra layer than you would wear.” Footed pj’s are a great option for those cold winter nights.

  1. Add a pacifier

Not only are pacifiers soothing and helpful for falling asleep, but they may also reduce the risk of SIDS.

Wondering how Nanit measures up when it comes to safety? Rest assured, it’s a monitor that’s 100% baby-proof, from its tip-proof stand to its shatterproof lens. You can read more about Nanit’s many innovative safety features here.

Category:0-3 Months, Safety
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Diana Aydin
Diana Aydin

Diana is an editor and writer based in New York City, and she frequently writes about health, parenting and everything babies. She’s been a fan of sleep since the early 1980s.

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