As a mom of a new baby, one of the biggest challenges in the first few years is figuring out how best to get your baby to sleep. And while there’s a lot of advice on how much sleep they should be getting in a 24-hour period, and how you can best go about getting them into a sleep routine, not much is said about where they should sleep.
A recent study, published in Pediatrics, examined more than 11 000 infant-related deaths and found that some 350 babies had died in a sitting device including car seats, baby swings and bouncers.
When a sitting device isn’t used as directed, babies can fall out, fall from an elevated surface like a table or chair on which it’s been placed, or flip onto a soft surface (like a couch) and suffocate. They can also be injured or killed because they haven’t been buckled up properly.
This follows another study in 2015, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, that found that sitting devices like bouncers, swings and car seats can lead to injury and death if they’re left to sleep in them.
Sleep-related deaths are the top cause of death in babies aged between 1 and 12 months old. To avoid injury or death, the American Association of Pediatrics advises parents to never leave their babies unsupervised – whether they are asleep or awake – when they are in these devices.
The best place for a baby to sleep is on his back in a crib, bassinet or cot that is free of loose bedding and soft objects.
For more on safe sleeping guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.
Tips to safely use a stand-alone swing or bouncer
- Always supervise a baby using a swing or bouncer, but don’t carry it with you. Swings and bouncers belong on the floor.
- Keep straps snug, but make sure that they’re not restricting your baby’s airways.
- Think about car seat best practices. Don’t exceed the weight limits.
- If your baby can sit up by himself, the bouncer or swing is no longer safe.
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