Every day, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta cares for almost 100 babies in their NICU who are fighting for their lives. As they sleep, staff (and parents) wonder what they’re dreaming about with each sleepy wiggle or smile. To launch Children’s safe sleep guidelines, the hospital created an imaginative photo series – From NICU to the moon that dreams about what the sleeping NICU babies might become someday- an astronaut? A ballerina? A Top Chef? A doctor? Maybe even an Olympian? If the size of the fight in their tiny bodies is any indication, these babies have big things in store for the world.
Children’s hope that the photo series will provide a smile and some inspiration, serving as a reminder to dream big and hope for a bright future. Children also hope to raise awareness about the importance of creating a safe sleep environment (http://www.choa.org/safesleep), so that babies can grow up to be all they dream about during their nighttime adventures.
Safe Sleeping for Your Baby
Help Prevent SIDS and Accidental Suffocation
Having a newborn is an exciting time for new parents. Learning the best ways to care for your infant while he is sleeping can lead to better rest for both you and him.
Babies are not just small adults, and they need special sleeping arrangements to stay safe.
Every year, more than 2,500 infants in the U.S. die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the unexplained, sudden death of an infant under 1 year old. As the number one cause of death among infants aged 1 month to 1 year, SIDS is a terrifying reality that thousands of families have faced.
However, while the number of SIDS deaths over the years has fallen, the number of infants dying of suffocation from sleeping on inappropriate sleep surfaces (adult beds, chairs, sofas, etc.) has dramatically risen.
Keep Your Baby Safe
Here are some tips to help prevent SIDS and accidental suffocation.
Make sure your baby sleeps alone in his own crib. Bed sharing increases the risk for accidental injury and suffocation. Although many parents are tempted to share their bed with a new a baby, the risk for SIDS is higher if you co-sleep.
Babies who sleep in adult beds could:
– Get injured from adults accidentally rolling on to them.
– Roll over and fall onto the floor.
– Suffocate from sliding between pillows or blankets.
Back is Best
Always place your child on his back to sleep. The risk of SIDS is doubled for infants who sleep on their stomachs. Always keep your child’s head uncovered during sleep. If you are tired while holding a sleeping child, put him on his back in his crib so you can get some rest.
Remove anything from your child’s crib that could block his flow of air, including all stuffed animals, blankets, pillows and other loose bedding. The best place for your child to sleep is in his own safety-approved crib on a firm, flat mattress.
In your baby’s crib, do not place:
– Crib bumpers
– Mobiles that your baby can reach
– Pillows, blankets or quilts
– Toys or stuffed animals
Do not overheat the room where you infant sleeps. Keep the thermostat set so that it is comfortable for adults who are lightly dressed, usually between 68°F and 72°F and never more than 75°F.
Instead of using covers in cool weather, dress your baby in a lightweight, one-piece blanket sleeper or sleep sack to help keep him warm.
Educate Your Sitter
Every parent needs a night out, but before you leave your child with a trusted sitter, make sure you share these helpful tips to keep your child safe and secure.
Immunize Your Child
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of SIDS is much lower in infants who are up to date on their shots.
Never allow anyone to smoke near your infant. Exposure to secondhand smoke doubles the risk of SIDS.
Swaddling is the practice of wrapping your infant in a blanket or cloth to mimick the comfort of the womb. If done correctly, swaddling can curb crying and restlessness and promote longer and more regular sleep patterns.
Leave space in the blanket for your baby’s hips and legs to move. If done incorrectly, it can put too much pressure on the hips and cause problems like hip dysplasia.