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Keep Your Nursery Safe

Baby is coming. Prepare your nursery to keep them safe while sleeping.

Going on a shopping spree for nursery and baby gear is an exciting thing to do. However, not all products sold in stores are safe for newborns and young children. Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children less than 1 year old. Unsafe sleep environments for infants are the primary cause of infant suffocation. So before you head off to buy furnishing for the nursery, following are a few things to help you make safe choices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these tips to make sure your baby is sleeping safely:

  • Don't use a co-sleeper that puts the baby in bed with you. The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib. Room-sharing without bed-sharing is best.
  • Don't use crib bumpers. These are banned in some U.S. cities and states due to suffocation risk. Injuries from a baby's arms and legs going through crib slats are historically minor, so the risks of using a bumper outweigh the benefits.
  • Only let baby sleep on firm surfaces with tightly fitted sheets. Blankets, quilts, pillows, toys, stuffed animals, sheep skins and pacifiers with attachments all increase the risk for suffocation. This includes blankets used for swaddling.
  • Place baby on his or her back at sleep times. Side and stomach sleeping are not safe for infants who can't roll over. In addition, infant positioners, wedges and crescent shaped pillows have caused suffocation deaths. Even though these items are marketed for reflux, they don't actually help. The semi-reclining position makes reflux worse in babies.

Strangulation is another common hazard that can be easily avoided. Don't buy:

  • Cribs with decorative cut-outs, crib tents, necklaces of any kind, monitors with cords that go under the mattress, mobiles, ribbons or strings attached to the crib. Remove any cord, ribbon, string or loose fabric within arm's reach of your crib.
  • Any sort of car seat accessory, even if they say "approved" on the packaging (strap pads, head positioners, under-baby pads, mirrors, mobiles, bottle holders, etc.).

Remember, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their empty crib, flat on their back, wearing only a diaper and onesie, footed pajamas or a sleep sack. Once breastfeeding is established, a pacifier should be offered at every sleep time.

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