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Safe Sleep Tips for Teen Moms

Cook Children's pediatricians are to help young moms — every step of the way.

The leading cause of death for infants 0-12 months of age is sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Following a few tips from Cook Children's pediatricians to create a safe sleep environment for your baby can decrease the risk of SUID.

Many moms, and especially teenage moms, feel babies sleep better and are safer if they sleep in the same bed. The truth is that research shows the safest place for baby to sleep is in their own crib. Room sharing is okay, but co-sleeping puts the baby at risk for unintentional suffocation, one cause of SUID.

Accidental suffocation and strangulation is the most common and most preventable cause of SUID. In rare, true SIDS deaths, about 25 percent of deaths are due to a heart rhythm defect, 5 percent are due to metabolic problems and the rest are due to a combination of factors that likely includes an abnormality in the brain's breathing center.

Creating a safe sleep environment will reduce the risk of SUID, and it doesn't require spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on nursery supplies. To keep your baby safe, follow these guidelines:

  • Babies should sleep flat on their back for every sleep time.
  • Babies should have their own sleep surface with a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet.
  • Room-share without bed-sharing.
  • Offer a pacifier at every sleep time.
  • Keep blankets, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals, mobiles, monitors and other humans or animals out of a baby's sleep environment
  • Do not use infant positioners such as wedges or pillows. These items are a suffocation hazard and they make reflux worse.
  • Baby should sleep in a footed onesie or sleep sack. Swaddling is no longer recommended and becomes especially dangerous as baby is able to roll over, as early as 8 weeks old.

We know parenting can be a challenge, and we want you to know you're not alone. For every worry, hope and question all parents have, we're with you every step of the way.

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