Tips: Crib Safety for Infants

One of the most dangerous pieces of baby furniture is the crib. To help prevent your child from being injured in the crib, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends the following:

  • Purchase a crib that has been certified to meet national safety standards. Be sure it has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification label. Handing down a crib from one generation to another may carry sentimental value, but older cribs do not always meet today’s safety standards.
  • Choose a crib with no more than 2 & 3/8 inches of space between the slats or the spindles. Be sure there are no missing or loose slats or spindles - your baby’s head can get caught, presenting a strangulation hazard.
  • Always keep the side rail locked in its up position when your baby is in the crib.
  • Never use a pillow in the crib and make sure no soft bedding, toys, plastic bags or other plastic materials are in or around the crib.


 Sleep Position

Medical research has clearly proven that up to half the fatalities from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be related to how a baby is placed in the crib. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies are put on their backs when it is time for bed. We also recommend you do not allow your infant to sleep with you or on a soft surface such as a waterbed, couch, or pillow.


 Pacifier Use

During baby's first year, consider offering a pacifier at naptime and at bedtime; however, the pacifier should not be coated in any sweet solution and should not be reinserted in your baby's mouth after she has fallen asleep. For breast-fed babies, delay pacifier introduction until breastfeeding is firmly established. Pacifier use with these guidelines is recommended per the AAP Task Force on SIDS Policy Statement.


 Sleep Patterns

Your new baby will probably wake to be fed every two to four hours in the beginning and fall back to sleep by the end of the feeding. Your baby may also have one or two periods a day when she is awake and crying, even after she has been fed, changed and rocked. Your baby’s own pattern of feeding, sleeping, and being awake will become apparent to you. Eventually, the time between feedings will become longer as will the length of time sleeping at night. From the beginning, try to put your baby to bed when she is drowsy but still awake whenever you can, so she can get used to falling asleep on her own. In this way, as your baby gets older, she will be more likely to fall back to sleep independently when she awakens in the middle of the night, without always having to be fed or rocked first.

 After two to three months, when your baby wakes during the night, try to avoid going to her too quickly and instead see if she is able to fall back to sleep on her own. Childhood sleep
experts believe after 3 months, babies do not wake up because they are hungry, so try to avoid feeding during the night if there is a chance your baby will go back to sleep. Avoid turning on the light, making eye contact, and talking or entertaining if you want to avoid night feeding and waking after 2 to 3 months of age.

Caring For Your Newborn
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