A new study suggests many parents are unaware that baby cribs are best kept bare. Except for a tight-fitting crib sheet, less is more when it comes to an infant’s safety during sleep.
The study, which was presented at a recent meeting of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, surveyed 500 parents who visited either an obstetric or pediatric clinic in Kansas about safe sleep practices for infants. Eighty percent of the participants knew that placing a baby on his or her back to sleep is recommended as a way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). That means 20 percent of parents still need to be better educated that back is best.
Researchers found that a startling 60 percent of parents think it’s OK to place items such as stuffed toys or blankets in cribs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this practice presents a suffocation hazard.
In light of the results of this study, lead researcher Dr. Zachary Kuhlmann of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita advises doctors to do a better job of delivering the message about safe sleep to patients.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your baby safe during sleeptime:
- Always place baby on his or her her back to sleep.
- Make sure baby is sleeping on a firm crib mattress.
- The only thing that should be in baby’s crib is a tight-fitting crib sheet.
- Never use soft bedding such as crib bumpers or blankets, or place any toys or stuffed animals in baby cribs.
- Do not put baby to sleep wearing too many layers. As a rule of thumb, baby is comfortable in one more layer than you are, according to the AAP.