DES MOINES, Iowa — In light of September being National Baby Safety month, local experts want to remind those who care for young babies about some of the best sleep safety practices.
Jessica LaCroix, an Injury Prevention Coordinator at Blank Children’s Hospital, said a “sleep sack” is one of the best ways to swaddle a baby because the zipper and velcro keep the cloth away from the baby’s mouth and nose.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome, ill-defined deaths, and accidental suffocation or strangulation.
LaCroix said proper swaddling techniques are essential to lowering the suffocation risk.
“Some babies really like to be swaddled. It helps with their moro reflex, helps put them to sleep and feel like they’re on the inside. And some babies don’t like to be swaddled. But for the one’s that do, using a sleep sack can be safer because it secures the blanket away from the baby’s mouth and nose to keep that suffocation risk lower,” LaCroix said.
It’s also important to keep in mind what goes into the crib.
“A safe crib would be one with a firm mattress, a tight fitting sheet, and a baby with a wearable blanket. Nothing else. No pillows, no positioners or bumper pads. All of those can pose either strangulation hazards or suffocation hazards,” LaCroix said.
Dr. Beth Davidson, with Mercy Medical, said there is an easy way to remember safe sleep practices.
“Remember your ABCs. A: babies should sleep alone in a crib or bassinet, B: on their backs, C: in a crib clear of clutter,” Davidson said.
And now that seasons are changing, LaCroix said it’s important to dress your baby in light layers when putting them in a car seat because if they have too much on the straps won’t work properly.
“A baby should be wearing no more than a light fleece. Use a warm blanket or cover on top to keep baby warm to and from the car to ensure straps are working properly,” LaCroix said.