For the past 20 years, recommendations have been made against letting infants sleep with loose bedding such as pillows, blankets and crib bumpers. Despite these recommendations and service announcements by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health, parents continue to use unsafe bedding at an alarming rate.
While the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has dropped, the rate of suffocation has more than doubled. While crib bedding is adorable, and bumpers and blankets are often given as baby shower gifts, parents need to understand that these items aren't safe for babies.
If you're concerned about your baby's warmth, then consider safer alternatives, like tight-fitting pajamas with feet (Kohls, $8) and swaddle-sleepers (Target, $20). Keep cute bedding like baby quilts and pillows displayed somewhere else in the nursery. Before you know it, your baby will be moving on to a toddler bed, where you can make better use of the sweet baby blankets you received while you were pregnant.
If you co-sleep, then just follow these tips and guidelines for co-sleeping safely. The same bedding rules apply. Using only a fitted sheet on the bed, just as you would do on a crib mattress, is the best bet.
Make a note to check out your baby's sleeping space. Is it free of loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows and bumpers? If not, then take a few minutes out of your day to remove all unnecessary loose items from the crib. It's such a simple step to take, but it could save your baby's life.
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