2017-10-15 / Family

Back to sleep, back to basics

By MICHELLE COTE
Columnist

Doctors give you a heads up during prenatal visits. You’re reminded at birthing classes and once again in the hospital after you’ve given birth before you’re home free with your babe.

You’re reminded yet again at your little one’s first few wellness checks.

Puting your baby to sleep on his back will help protect your him from SIDS.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is totally terrifying to think about, let alone discuss out loud.

But the simple act of placing your babe on his back each time he goes to sleep – until he’s a year old – significantly reduces this risk.

Countless data in the med world proves this. Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994 – now called Safe to Sleep – SIDS rates have dropped by half, thus rendering this campaign a distinction in an elite echelon among most important recent medical achievements.

Safe to Sleep ranks with life-saving vaccines and tightened car seat regulations.

In other words, it’s a surefire method that has knocked down scary stats and given hope to safer, healthier babies.

And though it’s so key for health care practitioners to truly drive the value of this compliance into every expecting parents’s head, it turns out that most mamas still aren’t using Safe to Sleep method.

According to a recent CNN article, only 44% of US mamas place their snoozing babes on their backs.

There is literally no extra work or effort to be placed in taking this simple, potentially life-saving step, so what gives?

According to CNN, perhaps it boils down to breaking bad habits.

Many prior generations placed babies to sleep on their tummies because they felt they’d be more comfortable, not as likely to choke.

Mamas who aren’t well-informed may gather and employ outdated info from others in their lives.

The latest guidelines are simply this: Babies, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, should be placed on their backs on a firm sleeping surface with only a tight-fitted sheet – no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc – to prevent suffocation and overheating. Never place a babe to sleep on a couch or cushioned chair.

Do not use bumpers in cribs. They continue to be marketed and sold by companies – even big box stores specialized in baby products – but are totally unsafe.

Similarly, avoid wedge or specialized mattresses in cribs.

Bumpers may be cute and theoretically prevent a foot from getting caught between crib bars, but it’s worth the occasional leg re-maneuver in a clean, plain bed to avoid the terrifying alternative.

Stick to light sleep clothes and blanket sleepers if the temperature is cool, and remove any strings or ties from pajamas.

Recently, the AAP even recommended room-sharing – not bed sharing – with a baby until he is six months to a year, because data now shows this too decreases SIDS risk.

Along with the importance of back time while sleeping, parents should place babes on their tummies during awake time – and always supervised – to encourage muscular development.

All health care providers should continue to clearly communicate this important message to all expectant mamas.

When it comes down to it, if you follow the no-brainer steps to help your baby sleep safely, you’ll sure rest easy.

And you should always, always have your baby’s back.

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