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Suffocation Prevention: How to Keep Your Child Safe While Sleeping

Sleeping Baby

While most parents focus on making an infant’s crib cute and cozy, their biggest priority should be making it safe. In the United States, unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury death among infants less than one year of age.

According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 80 percent of these 1,000 annual deaths are linked to unsafe sleeping environments that didn’t allow infants to breathe properly. To ensure your infant rests safely, there are a number of precautions you can take to help prevent a tragic incident.

Top 5 Tips for Safe Infant Sleeping

1. Stuffed animals and other cute fluffy toys make a crib both warm and inviting, but these accessories are more dangerous than meets the eye. If they block a baby’s face, it can make it difficult him or her to breathe.

While they aren’t the coziest, tight-fitting crib sheets that can’t block an infant’s airways are the safest bedding. It’s also a good idea not to hang anything on a string or cord above the crib.

2. Learning infant CPR is one of the most important safety precautions a new parent can take. Knowing how to react smartly and quickly when your child is suffocating can mean the difference between life and death. Plus, learning current CPR

techniques will give you significant peace of mind. Though you may know CPR, the techniques vary for small infants, so it’s wise to learn from an American Heart Association certified CPR instructor.

3. How you position your baby in his or her crib at night matters too. The best position for babies to sleep is on their backs, since sleeping this way promotes safe and consistent breathing.

4. Given that most infant suffocation happens in a sleeping environment, babies should sleep in a secure crib or bassinet. Be sure to confirm that the crib meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). There are a number of safety elements to consider when purchasing a crib, but one of the big concerns is the width between the slats: If you can fit a can of soda between them, a child’s head could get stuck there.

5. When you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital, you might be tempted to have the baby sleep with you, but think again. While you might fall asleep in what seems to be a safe position, you could move throughout the night and accidentally obstruct your baby’s airways. If you want to have the infant near you at night, it’s best to place the crib in your room to ensure safe, close contact.

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