By Maggie Moore
As a parent of a three-year-old, I constantly worry. Playing outside, running, crossing the street, eating a grape – the list goes on and on. There are many dangers looming out there; both seen and unseen.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant deaths in 2016. In the same year, in the United States alone, there were 3,600 deaths from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. These deaths occur among infants less than one-year-old and have no immediately obvious cause. Of the 3,600 deaths, 900 were due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
The importance of practicing safe sleep simply cannot be overlooked.
So how can parents practice safe sleep?
ABC’s of Safe Sleep – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents place their infant Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib for sleeping. The Safe Sleep campaign (formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign) started in 1994. By 1999 the overall SIDS rate in the United States dropped by more than 50%. It is worth noting that during that same time period the number of babies sleeping on their back more than doubled.
It is important to always place your baby on a sleep surface with nothing else around them. This will help prevent accidental death from suffocation or strangulation. Having blankets, stuffed animals, even objects as small as a pacifier attached to a push animal or a crib bumper, can pose a significant risk to your infant.
The AAP recommends parents room-share with their infant for at least the first six-months of baby’s life, ideally for the first 12-months. The AAP states room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. While baby is in parents’ room they should be placed in a crib or bassinet designed for sleep on a separate sleeping surface and space. Note that room sharing is different than bed-sharing.
Other room dangers
One of the first questions I ask parents with children in toddler or full-sized beds is, “Is the furniture anchored to the wall?” Once children have the freedom to roam around their room, anchoring the furniture is key to eliminating one of the primary safety concerns in a room. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies every 10 days from furniture or televisions tipping over. Additionally, a child is sent to the emergency room every 30-minutes from a tip-over incident. In 2017, Ikea recalled over 1.7 million dressers because they posed a risk of harm due to tipping over.
As parents, we are often most concerned with getting our child to fall asleep in their room and tend to overlook the other potential hazards found in that same room. Making sure all furniture is anchored to the wall, no matter how heavy, can prevent the furniture from tipping over. A quick Amazon search produced over 2,000 results for kits to securely anchor televisions and furniture to the wall to prevent these types of incidents from happening.
As a parent, making sure you have everything covered to keep your child safe can seem overwhelming. There are dangers seen and unseen that pose a potential threat to our children, but keeping their room and sleep environment safe will help everyone sleep better!
Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule so the whole family can get the sleep they need.
Like many parents, Maggie and her husband struggled with getting their son on a healthy sleep schedule and he was unable to fall asleep independently. As a result, her family was losing precious sleep every night.
Maggie became a firm believer when, shortly after hiring a certified pediatric sleep consultant, her son began sleeping independently at bed and nap times. It was a turning point that resulted in not only restful nights, but waking up fully rested with the energy to face the day. Maggie knew right away she wanted to become a certified consultant herself so she could help other families struggling to get the sleep they need.
Maggie and her family reside in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY). She received her bachelors in Journalism and a second concentration in Communications & Culture from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
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