When you have a little one on the way, there’s no doubt on your mind that you want to do everything that you possibly can in order to not just ensure their comfort but also help ensure their safety. There are various ways that you can do that.
You may be surprised to be finding such an article on a website that promotes safety against lead paint exposure, but the reality is there’s a reason why we’re writing this article.
While we want to ensure the safety of those most at risk, we also want to make sure that you are taking the necessary precautions in general. With that being said, there are a bunch of consumer products on the market that unfortunately don’t live up to the safety guidelines, meaning that they may in fact have a bunch of chemicals in them that aren’t approved. Until it is discovered, they will unfortunately be filling our homes with unnecessary chemical exposure, and exposure to heavy metals such as lead and lead paint.
The importance of good sleep is imperative for proper development, and you have probably had days in your life where you could tell them you simply haven’t had sufficient amounts of this miracle drug to really be functioning at an optimal level. For kids, sleep is even more so important than it is for adults, why they will additionally sleep significantly longer hours than most adults end up doing.
There are unfortunately too many accidents with babies dying unexpectedly, and in a lot of cases it isn’t even possible to come up with a reason why it happened. In fact, there is a term that has been coined – SUDI. SUDI stands for “sudden unexpected death in infancy”, which can surely happen when a baby is sleeping as well.
It is luckily a thing that has become significantly less of an issue than it was in the past, there are still a lot of reasons why you should be following the guidelines on safe sleeping for newborns. With the help of these tips, we’ll be able to lower SUDI even more, and help protect your smallest family members against the hidden dangers that they are currently exposed to, perhaps without you even knowing that it’s the case.
Here’s a bunch of tips that you should be implementing to help increase the safety of your baby’s sleep, thereby lowering the risk of SUDI.
- You should always make sure that your baby is in fact sleeping on their back.
For healthy babies, sleeping on their backs is an important step in making sure that they avoid the suffocation risks associated with some of the other sleeping positions and only when they are able to navigate the bed on their own will you be able to let your baby determine what position they’re comfortable sleeping in.
SUDI often occurs because babies end up in sleeping positions where they are unable to breathe, because they have yet to develop the ability to roll over, which usually happens around the age of 4-6 months.
2. A baby’s face should naturally not be covered as they’re going to sleep, nor should there be a risk that that could happen by accident.
Things like bed sheet should be securely tightened so that they don’t accidentally end up covering anything that it shouldn’t be covering. There are in fact specific products that have been made available such as the safe infant sleeping bag, intended to replace the use of blankets and significantly reducing the risk of anything accidentally covering your baby’s head, at which point they would be at risk of suffocating. It’s important that your baby’s feet are near the bottom end of the cot as well, as you’re positioning them and making them ready for a bunch of z’s.
3. Don’t smoke in the house
There are a bunch of things that you shouldn’t be doing during pregnancy, and there are a bunch of things that you shouldn’t be doing after your baby is born either. Ideally you make sure that the baby doesn’t end up being exposed to the harmful chemicals that are involved in the making of cigarettes, so as to keep them from the exposure. Second-hand smoke isn’t good for anyone, especially not babies, and can both affect your kids’ development but can also lead to SUDI.
4. Make sure that you only get a mattress for your kid that lives up to the various safety guidelines
It’s very important that you not only buy a cot or a mattress that lives up to the rigorous safety guidelines that are instituted in the United States, but we encourage you to be equally rigorous in making sure that you aren’t getting any sort of materials that could potentially hurt your baby. We understand that you may have found a website that offers a bunch of products slightly cheaper than you would be able to find them for from a more reputable site, but the truth is that you’re exposing your baby to unnecessary harm when you’re buying these sorts of products instead of getting them from a source that you absolutely know is safe to buy from.
Safety standards have been instituted in the United States for a reason, including various safety standards concerning the use of lead paint in consumer products. In fact, the use of lead paint in consumer products was severely limited back in 1992, at which point it was practically banned for the purpose. However, that doesn’t mean that other countries have nearly the same regulatory bodies that ensure that the dangerous addition to paint is being avoided. As a consequence, there are often recalls of products coming from foreign manufacturers when they have proven unable to follow the rules set by the United States.
In addition to not meeting the safety guidelines when it comes to the inclusion of lead paint, there are also other safety standards concerning cots that prevent babies from either getting trapped in the gaps, as well as how tall the sides have to be in order to provide protection against a child that gets curious and wants to crawl all over the place. Having sides that are too low could unfortunately lead to dangerous falls as the baby starts exploring the limitations of the cot.
5. Sharing a room with your baby
It’s very much so encouraged that you sleep in the same room as your baby, especially in the early stages where they aren’t yet ready to roll around when they find the need to. In fact, the recommendation is that you share a room with your baby for the first year of their life, meaning you may be sleeping in the same room as them for slightly longer than it will take for them to be able to roll over, which is just a safety measure to consider.
6. Breastfeeding your baby
Had you ever imagined that this simple act of providing the nutrients to your baby in a natural way such as breastfeeding might in fact be helping to keep the risk of SUDI at bay. Yes, there are indications that it may help.
7. Keep away any type of object that could end up obstructing your baby’s sleep ways.
There are a couple of reasons why you want to make sure that you aren’t including various objects in your baby’s cot. It’s not just the risk of suffocating on these objects that will help keep you feeling at ease when you put them to sleep, but it will also help to avoid the risk of them overheating. Some of the common objects that parents often want to put in the cot but really shouldn’t include soft toys, pillows, doonas, mattress padding, cot bumpers and anything that is a soft object that could potentially end up getting in the way.
This is the perfect moment to also mention to you that we have a bunch of other articles that are focused on not just improving the safety of your newborn but include various articles on additionally improving your family’s safety. Many of these safety tips are especially important when you have kids in the house, and even more so when you have really young kids in the house, as these are the ones that are the most prone to the environmental impacts that we are exposing them to.
If it’s the first time that you visit Check4Lead’s website, you probably don’t know that we have other articles on protecting your family against lead exposure, general things you need to know about lead paint, and what some of the risks are that you are walking into if you’re buying a 50 year old home. Assuming you know what you’re doing, and you’re both doing the necessary testing and making sure that any old paint remains in good condition, there isn’t a good reason why you shouldn’t be able to buy a 50 year old home if that is really what your dream is. However, when that’s been said, they will often suffer from various things like bad indoor air quality and other things, so if you have children living there, you will want to make sure that you have these things addressed before you start moving your family into the place.
Either way, you can check those things out at your own convenience, and then if you choose to learn more about it, you can read the various articles that we have posted. We have an entire blog section where you can keep reading these safety focused articles, ones that will often have lead exposure as the core of their focus, given the obvious fact that those are the things that we focus on, and the reason we are able to stay in business.
Let’s get on with the remainder of the article.
8. Make sure that the mattress that your baby is sleeping on is both firm and well-fitting.
You will want to make sure that the mattress that you choose for the cot doesn’t have gaps between the frame and the mattress, as that is a place where a small child’s head could easily end up getting jammed, and as a result suffocate. Second mattresses should be avoided, as should mattresses that aren’t firm, as these pose some of the same dangers that soft objects in the cot do.
9. Avoid letting your baby sleep on other surfaces that they aren’t intended to sleep on which could include couches.
Makeshift bedding, couches and other surfaces are easily ones where you might consider letting your baby sleep, but there really isn’t a good reason for you to do so given the obvious dangers that it will subject your baby to. Remember how we previously said you should make sure that your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress? Well, that is not a couch.
10. Dress your baby appropriately as you’re putting them to sleep.
You wouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car where the sun is shining down on for several hours as you go and run errands, so why would you ever consider not dressing your baby appropriately as you’re putting them to sleep? Babies deserve the same attention that others do, and that means you have to ensure that there isn’t a risk of overheating.
Sure, you should be making sure that your baby is wearing warm clothing that will keep them from freezing through the night, but overheating is one risk factor for SUDI, why appropriate clothing for sleep is massively important. You probably know that you yourself wouldn’t be jumping into bed wearing a ski outfit. Well, if you put your baby to bed in something that resembles that, overheating suddenly becomes a potential hazard as well. Would you yourself wear the clothing that you are putting your baby to sleep in? If so, the level of heat is probably appropriate, if not, you might just want to reevaluate the situation.
11. Make sure that anyone who takes care of your baby has read these many tips before being put in charge of your baby
We understand that you might be the one putting your baby to sleep most of the nights but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the one doing it every single night. Is someone else doing it for one night, then make sure to have them go over this article as well so that they are properly equipped to the challenges you are facing in caring for a newborn.
12. The crib that you are using should live up to all the standard safety requirements
Besides other things, that will require that you are getting your crib from a reliable manufacturer, preferably one who is located in the US, so that you know that all the various manufacturer requirements have been met. If you are buying one that has been imported, it’s important that the manufacturer lives up to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard that have been requiring stronger compliance after 2011. The same way that the EPA requires homes to be tested for lead paint if they were built before 1978, cribs that were made after these more stringent rules were made requires that a crib will have the manufacture date on it, which makes it easier to trace bad cribs back to a manufacturer, but also helps ensure that you are in fact using a crib, where stronger safety measures have been put in place.
The good news is that you aren’t in fact allowed to sell a crib that was made before that time, so if your solution to finding a crib is that you are going on Craigslist to see what used options are out there, you should ensure that any crib you are considering has this label on it.
Before you decide to buy one, you should make sure that it doesn’t come from a manufacturer that has had to recall a bunch of cribs either. Places like Keeping Babies Safe is a great place to figure out if the specific one you have been looking at has in fact been recalled. What you may not have known is that CPSC estimates that there isn’t just a small number of unsafe cribs lurking around out there, but that the number is in fact 20 million. When you start browsing the website, you will see that there are even some bigger names on the list, where cribs are being recalled for a range of things.
For instance, IKEA has had to recall a bunch of crib mattresses that were in violation of the Federal Flammability Standard back in 2015. On the other hand, relating to the actual crib themselves, Baby’s Dream has had to recall cribs and furniture because they weren’t living up to the lead paint standards, which happened the same year. As much as we would like to believe that our youngest ones are safe from the exposure to this harmful kind of paint, it’s simply not the case in a lot of instances, even if the relevant legislation dates back as far as 1992, when the use of this paint was limited in consumer products. At least it’s the case that these cribs are slightly less dangerous stemming from the fact that they have to be labeled, as long as they have been made after 2011.
Although we are very much in favor of initiatives that help sustainability, there is no denying that poorly built cribs and ones that do not live up to the various requirements in terms of lead paint, pose a significant threat. It’s not just cribs that are the offenders here, but there are actually 11 million units that have had to be recalled between 2009 and 2011, which includes cribs, bassinets and play yards. Our recommendation therefore remains that you need to throw these things out rather than buy something that was manufactured before 2011.
13. Don’t share a bed with your baby
While it may be tempting to have your baby by your side as you are about to fall asleep, we strongly discourage it. As you find yourself getting closer and closer to sleeping, it’s important that you make the safe choice and put your baby in either the crib or the bassinet, rather than having them share the bed with you.
While it may seem like a minor thing, there is a very inherent risk of suffocation when your baby hasn’t been properly secured in their bed, and that includes making sure that you aren’t putting them at risk of being suffocated if you accidentally roll on top of them.
14. Make sure the temperature is right where they are sleeping and avoid certain accidents
If you have a fireplace, that can both be a fire hazard if your child’s clothing would accidentally catch fire, but you will also want to ensure that the temperature is right when your baby is being put to sleep.
Even if you are a person who is reluctant to using the air conditioner in the summer or the heater in the winter, you should consider doing so, if for nothing else than the safety of your child. The best range to keep the temperature at when your baby is falling asleep is somewhere between 65 degrees F and 74 degrees.
Remember that your baby is always at your mercy when it comes to ensuring that they are sleeping at a comfortable temperature, and they cannot remove clothing the same way that you can if the situation calls for it. Perhaps you may be a person who will naturally not need to have the heater on for most of the day, but your baby won’t always tell you when they need it either warmer or colder. In addition, by making sure that the temperature is right and comfortable, you are making sure that your baby isn’t just safe, but also sleep better, and hopefully longer, too – the dream of any new parent!
Either way, we hope that you enjoyed this article despite the fact that it may have strayed away from our usual focus of dealing with lead paint issues. If you’re curious to continue reading our blog posts, we can also recommend these articles on removing plaster, illegal landlord actions and painting while pregnant.