Taking Care of Baby
At CHI St. Vincent, we’re dedicated to giving children a healthy start to life! Our pediatricians in Hot Springs provide exceptional care and want to help you navigate this journey as a new parent.
Safe Sleep for Baby: Remember Your ABCs
Your baby needs extra care and attention, even while he or she sleeps.
To ensure the safety of a sleeping infant, the caretaker must know the proper sleep safety protocol.
Whether you’re a brand new parent, babysitter, or nanny, learn the ABCs of safe sleeping scenarios for baby’s health.
Never sleep in the same bed as your infant. As tempting as it may be to lie down for a nap with your baby, sharing a bed is dangerous. However, having a baby sleep in the same room, but on a different surface is a safe and functional alternative. Make sure your baby sleeps alone in the crib to avoid the risk of suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation.
While you may find sleeping is more comfortable on your stomach or side, you need to put babies to bed on their backs. When infants sleep on their side or stomach, the likelihood of rebreathing their exhaled air significantly increases, preventing them from getting enough oxygen. Placing a baby to sleep on their stomach doubles the risk of death. Make sure the baby is on his or her back with clear and open airways.
A baby must sleep in a safety-approved crib, free of blankets, pillows, and toys, with only a tight fitted sheet covering the mattress. The extremely firm surface is intentional. Soft surfaces pose the risk of conforming to the shape of the baby’s head and face, increasing the risk of suffocation. Save soft blankets, stuffed toys, and pillows for designated playtime. A clear crib is a safe crib.
Six Steps to Prevent SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplainable, sudden death of an infant. While the tragic death of a baby is only amplified by the frustration of not understanding the root cause of SIDS, there are steps you can take to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS.
1. Take Care of Your Baby Before Birth
- Prenatal care helps lower your baby’s chance of SIDS.
- Throughout all nine months of pregnancy, have regular appointments with your OB/GYN. Follow any recommendations your physician gives you including diet and lifestyle changes, medications, and vitamins.
2. Don’t Smoke
- Never smoke during your pregnancy. Tobacco harms your baby and increases his or her risk of dying from SIDS. Avoid secondhand smoke by not standing near people who are smoking and not going to places where smoke will be in the air.
- After your baby is born, continue to be vigilant. Never allow anyone to smoke near your child.
3. Give Your Baby a Safe Sleeping Environment
- Babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or Moses Basket on a firm mattress or surface, covered with a fitted sheet. There should be nothing else in the crib, like toys, pillows, blankets, etc. Never let your baby sleep on a soft, cushioned surface, including a sheepskin, waterbed, pillow, comforter, or other soft materials.
- Place your baby’s bed in your room for your baby’s first six months (risk of SIDS is highest between months two and four).
- Give your baby a pacifier when sleeping. Babies sleeping with pacifiers are less likely to experience SIDS.
4. Pay Attention to Your Baby’s Sleeping Position
- Your baby should always sleep on his or her back until he or she learns to roll over.
- When your baby is awake, have him or her in different positions including in your arms, on his or her tummy, etc. Moving your baby to new positions helps your baby grow strong and healthy.
- Breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.
- For the first six months, only give your baby breast milk. Do not give them water, sugar water, or formula.
- Take your baby to the pediatrician regularly for checkups and vaccines.
- If your baby ever seems sick, visit your pediatrician.
SIDS is rare; it affects approximately .05% of babies in the United States. Despite its rarity, it’s essential to take steps to prevent SIDS. Find the right pediatrician for your family and learn more about what you can do to protect your baby from SIDS.