10 safe sleeping tips for your baby

It is easy to lose hours watching your baby sleep.

Those cute little breaths, movements as they dream or the eyes suddenly opening – it fills you with a love that you never knew existed.

So, how do you manage to get some shut eye yourself while your baby is off exploring the land of nod?

A safe sleeping environment for your baby not only ensures you get a restful sleep but also protect them from sudden unexplained deaths in infancy.

Australian parenting website raisingchildren.net.au shares the below 10 tips:

1. Put your baby to sleep on their back
This is the safest position for a healthy baby. Once your baby learns to roll over at around four to six months, keep putting your baby on their back to sleep, but let them find their own sleeping position.

2. Make sure your baby’s face or head cannot be covered
Put your baby low in the cot so their feet are at the bottom end of the bed. Tuck the sheet in securely ensuring the fabric cannot cover your baby’s head. Alternatively, many parents now use safe infant sleeping bags instead of blankets so that their baby is free to move with no chance of covering their face.

3. Avoid smoking
Evidence suggests that second-hand smoke harms babies and that smoking during and after pregnancy increased the risk of sudden unexplained deaths in infancy. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. For more information, visit www.quit.org.au

4. Use a cot that meets the currently Australian safety standards
It is important that you check if your cot meets the current Australian standards for safety. Cots that don’t meet the requirements could potentially be a risk for your baby at bedtime (think about the potential gaps they get caught in!). Keep your baby’s cot away from hanging cords that could get caught around their neck. Never use hot water bottles, wheat bags or electric blankets. Check out this video from the ACCC for more information.

5. Share a room
Have your baby sleep in a cot in your room for the first six months to a year of their life. Do not share a bed with your baby though, especially if you or you partner are smokers, have drunk alcohol, taken medication or are feeling very tired. The risk of bed sharing increasing the risk of accidental death.

6. Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding is recommended if you can as reduces the risk of sudden unexplained deaths in infancy. Babies should be breastfed for the first six months of life. But do not worry if you cannot breastfeed, formula is a safe alternative and babies who receive it grow and thrive.

7. Don’t use cot bumpers, mattress padding, sheepskin, soft toys or pillows where your baby sleeps
Your baby can suffocate or overheat by rolling into or being covered by these objects. Pillows are not necessary for babies as they can cover your baby’s face or cause overheating. As a rule, do not introduce a pillow until your child starts to sleep in a bed. And leave the toys and stuff animals out of the bed.

8. Use a firm and well-fitted mattress
Make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and the edge of the cot where your baby’s head could get jammed. If you are using a portable cot, only use the mattress that comes with it, do not add a second mattress.

9. Do not sleep your baby on the couch or a makeshift bed
We all love to have a cuddle with our baby, but it is important that they return to their own safe space for sleep. Sleeping on a couch or a makeshift bed, with or without supervision, is very dangerous for your baby.

10. Dress your baby in clothing that is warm but not too hot
Overheating is a risk factor for sudden unexplained death in infancy. Think about what you would wear to bed and use that as a guide for your baby. If you use an infant sleeping bag, you do not need sheets or blankets over the top. Make sure you keep your baby’s head and face uncovered as this allows for your baby to cool and not overheat. It is normal for your baby’s hands and feet to feel cool.

August 13 is Red Nose Day, an opportunity for Australians everywhere to get silly for a serious cause and raise money to help stop little lives being cut short while supporting their families.

To donate, visit www.rednoseday.org.au

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