Safe Sleep for Babies - Tips that every Parents Need to Know

New parents are in a constant state of worry and wonderment: Will the baby sleep through the night? Will she be a “good” sleeper? Will I ever get any ZZZZs? 

But before you worry about any of those things, ask yourself this: is my baby sleeping safely? It’s a sobering (and heartbreaking) fact that, every year, more than 3,400 SIDS-related infant deaths occur in the United States. We can do something to help curb these statistics.

Safe sleeping is the most important part of your baby’s first year, because a safe sleep environment is a key component to promoting “Safe Sleep for Baby and You.” 

In fact, knowing the basics of what makes up a safe sleep environment and how to create this environment for babies are keys to helping prevent SIDS—Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

With so much information out there on safe sleep for babies, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The Smiling Gaia offers parents some important handy tips.

Place Your Baby on Their Back

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do to help your baby sleep safely and sound is to put them to bed on their back.

By placing babies to sleep on their backs, you’ll decrease the chance of your little one dying from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) by over 50%.

Babies who are placed to sleep on their backs have a lower risk of suffocation and choking. Placing a baby on their back reduces the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by over 50%.

SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Because SIDS is so devastating, it’s important for every parent to know that putting their baby on their back is the best way to reduce their risk.

If your baby needs support while they sleep, place them in their crib with a firm and tightly-fitted mattress and use only pillows when they are older than 2 years old. Pillows should always be placed at the end of the crib or bassinet, never at the head or foot of the infant’s sleeping place.

Use a Firm and Flat Sleep Surface

Babies are always on the move, playing and learning in their cribs. Just when they start to get the hang of rolling over, they unexpectedly find themselves on their tummies. It's a scary thought for new parents — but there's good news: Babies who share a bed with parents are at greater risk for SIDS than babies who sleep in a crib.

Tummy time is part of your baby's development, and it's important to give them plenty of opportunities to practice this skill. But if you're tempted to let your baby sleep on his or her stomach, you may want to think again. Tummy time is crucial for healthy development, but sleeping on the tummy isn't safe for babies because of the risk of suffocation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies spend every sleep time in a firm and flat sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet. A blanket should be tucked around your baby, but not covering their face. The AAP also says that soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding should never be used in the same bed as a baby or toddler because they may cause suffocation or strangulation.

Keep Everything Out of the Bassinet

A bassinet is an enclosed bed for a baby, which helps protect the infant from being suffocated by blankets or pillows, and provides a way for the infant to safely sleep with parents, who can watch over the baby. Bassinets typically have mesh sides and a flat, firm mattress. While they are not intended to be used as permanent beds, many parents use them for extended periods of time.

Here are some tips from the study and from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Keep all items out of the bassinet other than a fitted sheet. This includes toys, stuffed animals and blankets. Because babies can begin rolling over when they are about 3 months old, some parents think it is OK to put their babies on their stomachs in a bassinet. Keep in mind that if a baby is on his stomach he could accidentally roll into something such as a stuffed animal or blanket, and suffocate if it's blocking his face.

Share a Room, Not a Bed

There are many reasons to share a room with your baby, but bed-sharing should be avoided. Bed-sharing increases the risk of death when compared with room-sharing and is not recommended by experts.

Bed-sharing is when a baby sleeps in the same bed as his or her parent or caregiver. Bed-sharing can be dangerous because it can lead to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment. Babies who sleep with parents are at risk for suffocation because they can be overlaid by an adult, smothered under bedding, or crushed against a wall. They can also become trapped between the mattress and wall and be unable to breathe.

Babies also face an increased risk of strangulation if they are sleeping next to an adult who is sleeping on his or her back and using a loose comforter in which the baby could become entangled.

And babies who sleep with parents are more likely to roll into dangerous objects like space heaters, table lamps, or electrical cords.

Parents should place their babies for sleep in a lounger, crib, cradle, portable bassinet, or play yard in the same room as their parents' bed but never in the same bed.

The Right Temperature

Parents are often concerned about the temperature of their baby's sleeping environment, but it should be remembered that babies may be sensitive to extremes of temperature and cold. In general, a room temperature of 68-72°F (20°-22°C) is recommended for a crib.

Avoid overheating your baby by keeping him or her appropriately dressed for sleep as well as for daytime activities. Over-bundling a baby increases the risk for SIDS by limiting the infant's ability to move about freely and possibly interfering with arousal responses. Some evidence suggests that overheating also contributes to SIDS.

Avoid covering your baby's head, including with soft bedding or stuffed toys; this increases the risk of SIDS. A blanket placed over the baby's lower half is sufficient to keep your baby warm and safe.

If you use a sleep positioner or other devices, make sure they do not interfere with the baby's movement or breathing. The safety of such products has not been adequately studied and they have not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation.

Smiling Gaia Baby Lounger Nest

The Smiling Gaia baby lounger nest is made to be your child’s safe place. It allows them to nap or sleep in any position they choose. The adjustable straps are easy to use and keep your baby secure at all times.

Because the Smiling Gaia lounger nest is so flexible, it can grow with your child. The Baby Lounger can be used as a baby lounger until 12 months of age and then easily converts into a toddler chair by removing the harnesses. Transform it again when your child outgrows the infant lounger by adding an insert that turns it into a full-size chair!

Made with eco-friendly materials, the Smiling Gaia is a modern and stylish way to keep your baby close. The easy to clean fabric is durable, easy to wipe and designed for lasting use.

Smiling Gaia baby lounger nest reduce the SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) risk factor to 0. While providing a safe and comfortable environment, the Smiling Gaia baby lounger nest is designed to be used either in a crib or in a playpen (both included), it is also portable and easy to carry. The Smiling Gaia baby lounger nest can remain on the bed with you right until your child begins to crawl.

Final thoughts

Here is a list of baby safe sleep guidelines for parents and caregivers. A baby sleeping in an adult bed can be dangerous.

Tuck the sheets tightly around the mattress pad or mattress to prevent them from coming loose and covering the baby's face while they're sleeping.

Always place your baby on their back to sleep every time, including when they are napping.

Never use soft objects such as pillows, comforters, waterbed mattresses, sheepskins, quilts or soft toys in your baby's sleep environment. While they may seem harmless, they can obstruct your baby's airway and cause suffocation if your baby rolls over onto them while sleeping.

Avoid overheating; dress your baby in a diaper only at night and cover with one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in the same room. Keep the temperature in your home at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib. Use a firm sleep surface made of a tightly fitted sheet placed over a firm mattress with no pillow, blankets, pillows or stuffed toys. The crib should have a tight-fitting bottom sheet that fits snugly under the mattress so it cannot come loose.