The Doctors share an alarming new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics which examined more than 10,000 infant deaths. The study found that when the parents aren’t around, babysitters, friends, or even relatives are less likely to place the infant in the safe sleeping position on their backs. Additionally, babies are more likely to be placed in sleep environments with hazardous objects.
How babies sleep is so vital to protecting them from SIDS, which stands for sudden infant death syndrome. This is the death of a seemingly healthy baby between 1 – 12 months of age. While physical factors could play a role, ER physician Dr. Travis Stork notes environmental factors, like room temperature and sleeping position, definitely increase the risk. Experts advise placing babies on their backs to avoid suffocation and overheating.
OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry doesn’t want parents to freak out and never leave their babies alone. Rather, she says knowledge is power, and The Doctors want to empower you so that you can empower the people who will babysit your kids. Here are three common mistakes to avoid so that you and whoever else is taking care of your baby can get them to sleep safely.
Mistake #1: Buying a supplemental mattress and adding blankets to the crib.
Dr. Nita advises parents to only use the mattress that comes with the playpen. Any other mattress hasn’t been tested with your device and buying one, as well as adding blankets (and bumpers and stuffed animals) introduces suffocation risk.
Mistake #2: Allowing newborns to sleep in the car seat.
Neck and back muscles are not well developed in babies so their heads have a tendency to fall forward, with their chin hitting their chest. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon demonstrates how this movement can restrict a baby’s airway, which is only about the size of a straw. He advises parents while driving to check that their baby’s head hasn’t fallen into this position, and once they carry the baby into the house, to remove the child from the car seat.
Mistake #3: Not having the conversation with babysitters.
If you are going out, it’s important to have the conversation regarding your baby’s sleep time gameplan with whoever is watching him or her. Dr. Travis adds that if parents are unsure, this is more than an appropriate conversation to have with their pediatrician. They can even take a photo of the baby’s sleep environment and ask the doctor if it all looks good.