How to Keep Your Infant Safe in Their Crib
Infant safety is a passion of mine, especially after becoming a nationally certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). This passion of mine is what inspired this post and an experience I had with a parent of a patient in which I was able to educate her on safe infant sleep.
Unsafe sleeping is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental deaths, such as choking, falls and suffocation. Unsafe infant sleep is defined as putting:
What is Considered Unsafe Infant Sleep?
- Stuffed animals in or around your infant’s sleeping area.
- Sheepskin, pillows, blankets and quilts in or around your infant’s sleep area.
- Fluffy and loose bedding in or around your infant’s sleep area.
- Your infant to sleep on a waterbed, soft mattress, chair, couch or other soft surface.
- Your infant to sleep on a mattress designed for adults.
- Your infant to sleep in bed with you (co-sleeping).
- Your infant to sleep in a crib that is not does follow new federal safety standards.
How to Position your Infant for Safe Sleep
Infants should sleep on their back and on a firm mattress, designed for infants. If your infant cannot tolerate sleeping on their back, it helps to transition to this position by gradually putting them no their back for increasing periods of time. A tip for pregnant moms…after you give birth, if your nurse does not place your newborn infant on their back, request that they do so. This will help your infant get used to sleeping on their back before you get home.
Six Ways to Encourage Your Infant to Sleep in Their Crib (Not in Your Bed)
When I was a child my mother owned a day care center and I helped her when she needed it. Through the experience of raising my children and helping her, I found that there are several strategies to encourage children to sleep in their crib. These strategies below helped encourage my boys, Alex and Christopher, to sleep in their crib. You can use the following ways to encourage your infant to sleep in their crib.
1. Place your infant in their crib when they are drowsy but still awake. They will learn to fall asleep in their crib and get used to the crib as the normal and regular place to sleep.
2. Midnight feedings should be brief and boring. If you play with your child during these middle-of-the night feedings, they will become too excited to easily fall back to sleep.
3. Create a regular evening routine. This is a good idea as your child approaches one year of age. Some things you can consider in the evening routine are:
- Rock the baby back and forth
- Read a bed time story
- Sing a song
- Listen to soft music
Settle your infant into their crib as part of that routine when they are drowsy but not asleep. Your infant will learn to fall asleep on their own. Say your good nights and leave the room.
4. If your infant cries, don’t rush back in. Your infant may cry for a moment but will soon calm down and fall asleep, especially after the bedtime routine is established. Don’t rush back in. Give them time to calm down and, after a few minutes, they should fall asleep. If your infant is still crying after five to ten minutes, enter their bedroom but don’t stay longer than a minute or two. Slow strokes on your infant’s body or legs may help them calm down.
5. Keep the evening routine the same every night. The routine may need to be repeated several times, if necessary. While keeping the routine the same is important, if your infant is not feeling well or shows signs of hunger, should take priority.
6. If your infant cries in the middle of the night, wait a few minutes. By waiting a few minutes, your infant may fall back to sleep. If your infant continues to cry, talk to and comfort them, but don’t bring them to your bed.
Debunking the Myth about Cribs and SIDS Babies
Myth: Cribs cause SIDS because many SIDS babies are found in cribs.
Fact: Cribs do not cause SIDS. Unsafe infant sleep, which I outlined above, can result in SIDS and life-threatening hazards, like choking, falls and suffocation. I hope you use this blog post as a guide to help you create a safe sleeping environment for your infant.