October is Safe Sleep awareness month! Did you know that the way your baby sleeps could put them at risk of an unsafe sleep death? Every year, about 3,500 babies in the United States die because of unsafe sleep. Keeping your baby safe while they sleep is simple if you follow the ABC’S of infant safe sleep. Learning about safe sleep is important for moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, childcare providers, and more! Anyone caring for a baby under one year old should follow the ABC’S of safe sleep.
How do I follow the ABC’S of safe sleep?
A is for ALONE.
Babies should sleep alone. That means without other people and without blankets, toys, or pillows. These objects could get caught in front of a baby’s nose and mouth and make it hard for them to breath. People sleeping in the same bed as a baby could suffocate or smother the baby. The safest way to sleep is alone.
B is for BACK.
Babies should be put to sleep on their backs. This is the safest position for a baby to sleep. In the past, we didn’t have as much evidence as we do now that back sleeping is the safest sleep position. Many babies used to sleep on their stomachs because we didn’t know better. Now, the science is clear: Back sleeping is safest.
C is for CRIB
Babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or playpen. These are the only safe places for a baby to sleep. Beds, couches, and chairs are dangerous places for a baby to sleep.
S is for SMOKE-FREE
There should be no smoking in the area where your baby sleeps. This means no cigarette or marijuana smoking. Smoke particles can get trapped in your baby’s bedding and clothes and make it hard for them to breath while they sleep.
How do I make sure other people caring for my baby follow the ABC’S of safe sleep?
Sometimes, other people caring for your baby might have different opinions on how babies should sleep. This is a hard situation to be in. Everyone caring for your baby wants the best for your baby, so have conversations about safe sleep with these people early and often.
Thank the person caring for your baby.
Tell the person you are grateful that they can help care for your baby and that they want to be part of baby’s life.
Find common ground.
Even though you and another caregiver might have different opinions on how babies should sleep, you both have the same goal: keep baby safe and healthy. Make it clear to this person that you are on the same team trying to keep baby healthy. Make sure they know you want to work together to keep baby safe.
Ask for consistency.
Tell the person caring for your baby that you are trying hard to be consistent with how the baby sleeps and you can really use their help.
Share the facts.
Share factual information about safe sleep. The science is clear, the ABC’S of safe sleep help prevent infant deaths. Share this resource to help caregivers learn the facts.