Blankets and sheets:
- Baby sleeping bags are a great way to sleep your baby safely, as they will prevent him slipping under the covers. Sleeping bags shouldn’t have a hood but should have neck and arm holes that are fitted.
- If you use a sleeping bag, ensure that your baby has enough clothes on inside the bag to avoid the need to add extra coverings over the bag.
- If you choose to use sheets and blankets, make sure that they are lightweight and can be firmly tucked in.
- Make up the cot so that the bedding is in the lower part of the cot. You should sleep your baby so that his feet almost touch the bottom of the cot so he can’t wriggle down and under the covers.
- Most young children will manage to get out from under bedding, so make sure that you dress him appropriately before bed so that he’ll stay warm while he sleeps even without the covers over him.
- To avoid possible strangulation, ensure that your baby’s clothing has no ribbons or cords. If you attach a dummy to his nightclothes, the cord should be no longer than 10cm.
- If you wrap your baby for sleep, dress him lightly and then use a sheet to tuck him into bed.
- Don’t use any heavy bedding – quilts, doonas or thick blankets – as these can cause your baby to overheat quickly.
- Don’t use pillows, cot bumpers, quilts or sheepskins as these can pose a threat of suffocation.
- Don’t use any extra heating device – hot water bottles, electric blankets – as these are not safe for young children.
- Don’t give a pillow to your baby – he doesn’t need it and it can cause suffocation.
- Babies can turn their face into the pillow during sleep which can make breathing difficult, and it suffocation has occurred as the result of a baby getting his head caught under a pillow.
- Pillows are not necessary until your child’s shoulder width is greater than their head – this usually doesn’t occur until about 3 years of age – although many children want to use a pillow once they move into a ‘big’ bed.
- When you introduce a pillow to your child’s bed, keep it flat and firm so that the neck isn’t forced into an uncomfortable slant when he sleeps.
- Don’t allow your baby to sleep on a U-shaped pillows are he may become trapped and then suffocate if he slips down between the two arms of the pillow.
- U-shaped pillows have been found to be partly responsible for a number of deaths in Australia where there has been accidental smothering as a result of the pillow blocking the airway.
- Never leave your baby awake and propped up on a U-shaped pillow unattended as this is not safe.
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This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot NZ.