Infant Sleep Environment and Bedding

  • Medical researchers have studied the possibility that soft bedding may trap exhaled air that contains low amounts of oxygen. The baby then may rebreathe this air and not get enough oxygen. The lack of oxygen may present a challenge to a baby in the critical development period (first six months) and serve as a triggering event for SUID.
  • Soft surfaces, such as pillows, quilts, comforters, bumper pads, sheepskins or stuffed toys should be removed from the baby’s sleep environment.

What is “BEDSHARING” and is it safe?
Sometimes parents do not have cribs for their baby or choose to sleep with their babies, placing them in an adult bed. This is often referred to as “Bedsharing” or “Co-sleeping”.

It is important to know that babies have died accidentally in adult beds and while sleeping with adults and/or siblings on surfaces not designed for an infant. Babies may suffocate in soft bedding or be wedged between the bed and the wall or headboard. The adult bed is an unsafe place for babies!

Research demonstrates that babies are at an increased risk of dying when sleeping in adult beds, particularly prior to 11 weeks of age. Another study shows the risk is up to 40 times greater while sleeping in an adult bed, rather than a safe crib. The safest place for your baby to sleep is alone, on his or her back, and in a crib (or Pack-n-Play or safe bassinet).

Babies should also never sleep on couches, waterbeds, chairs or pillows.

For more information about the above issues, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website and read their position statement regarding sleep related infant death.

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