As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to ensure your little one is safe. And since babies sleep for up to 16 hours per day, creating a safe sleep environment is a crucial part of maintaining your babyís health and well-being.
Not sure where to start when creating a safe nursery for your bundle of joy? You should always consult your pediatrician when it comes to safe sleep practices, but here are some suggestions for how to create a safe sleep environment for your baby so both of you can sleep soundly through the night.
If you or someone else in your home smokes, keep the smoke away from your babyís nursery and, ideally, outside, at all costs. Cigarette smoke is hazardous to people of all ages, but especially babies, for whom it dramatically increases the risk of SIDs.
Flat on the Back
Until your baby can roll over and pick up their head on their own, you should always place them flat on their back to sleep and nap. Why? Most newborns seem to prefer sleeping on their tummyóis it that bad to let them contentedly snooze away like that?
Unfortunately, yes. Placing babies on their side or stomach puts them at an increased risk for SIDs. For now, save the stomach-down position for supervised tummy time with parents or a trusted caregiver. Once baby learns to move more freely, they can sleep however they wish, whether in the fetal position, the starfish position, or yes, even on their tummy.
No Bed Sharing
You should never sleep in the same place as your baby. That means no bed, armchair, or couch sleeping for your little one. But just because you canít share beds doesnít mean you canít sleep near your babyóshare rooms instead! When bedtime rolls around, place your baby in a crib next to your bed. This way, you can watch over them safely.
A Clean and Uncluttered Crib
Crib accessories are positively adorable. Those big, downy comforters, frilly pillows, friendly-faced stuffed animals are cute. However, you should keep them out of their crib during naps and bedtime until they reach the 18-month milestone. A cluttered crib is dangerous to newborns. Having too many objects in their sleep area increases the risk of injury or asphyxiation. So as cute as those blankies and teddies may be, your babyís health and safety come first. If you want, you can still decorate your babyís crib when they arenít in it, so it looks lovely in pictures and to visitors.
Firm and Fitted
Your babyís sleeping arrangement should consist of a safe crib, a firm mattress, and a fitted sheet. Thatís it. Thatís all that your baby needs. Babies might be fussy eaters and choosy with their toys, but they arenít finicky sleepers.
They donít need big, warm comforters, a soft pillow, or any of the usual aids that older children and adults need for restful sleep. Keep it simple to ensure you and your bundle of joy get as much rest as possible.
Just the Right Temperature
The ideal room for your baby is a quiet, cool, and dark one. You should take special care to avoid overheating. Babies canít regulate their temperature as well as adults, which means theyíre more prone to feeling hot. The best way to avoid overheating is to dress them in one layer of clothing only (footed pajamas are ideal). Avoid loose accessories like bibs, hats, and scarves.
If youíre worried itís too cold inside your home for your baby, you can put them in a pediatrician-approved cocoon or sleep sack for extra warmth.
However, keep in mind that babies have a lot of baby fat. This fat releases heat around the clock to keep your little one warm. Your baby is much more likely to overheat than freeze, so thereís no need to go overboard on coverings during nippy, wintry weather!
The next way to create a safe sleep environment for your baby is to use soothers. The calming tunes from a musical mobile can help your little one drift off and settle faster. And while you should never place bottles or binkies in your babyís crib while theyíre sleeping, feeding, or letting them suck on a pacifier prior to nap- or bedtime can soothe them and help them enter the land of nod. A baby who sleeps deeply and soundly is at a much lower risk of harm than one who tosses, turns, and wakes up frequently throughout the night.
A Consistent Bedtime
For a similar reason, you should try and create a consistent sleep schedule for your baby. Keep their naptimes and bedtimes the same each day. Eventually, your baby will begin to associate these set times with sleep, and theyíll doze off much faster and with far less fuss.
Of course, thereís nothing wrong with the occasional unscheduled nap. If your baby feels tired after a particularly eventful day, donít be afraid to let them doze, even if itís not their normal nap time. Nothing can be perfect all the time, after all!
No Back Supports
Some people claim that using back supports like positioners, rolled-up blankets, or wedges can reduce a babyís risk of SIDs by keeping them on their backs, but thereís no evidence to support this. In fact, using these back supports can put your baby at increased risk of suffocation. Like any other item, you should keep supports out of your babyís crib during nap- and bedtime. Only use supports during feeding and playtime.
Avoid Soft Surfaces
Never place babies on soft surfaces to slumber, such as air mattresses, cushions, pillows, and waterbeds. Itís much easier for a baby to accidentally roll over onto their stomachs on a soft surface as opposed to on a firm crib mattress.
For safe, easy to wash, and adorable bedding for your little oneís crib, you can rely on Sweet JoJo Designs. We have designer crib bedding in many fun and luxurious designs, from boho botanical prints to woodland and fantasy animal prints. Shop with us today for crib sheets and nursery accessories that you can coordinate or mix and match to create the perfect sleep space.