Crib & Cot Safety for Babies & Toddlers
To ensure your baby’s physical and emotional well-being, good sleeping habits are essential. The right kind of crib, or cot, for your child helps in developing the perfect sleeping environment for them which is important to establish good sleeping habits.
Need for a safe sleeping environment for children
New born babies spend much of the time of their first year sleeping. So, a safe sleeping environment is important to reduce the risk of injuries to children as well as chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is the sudden death of children who are less than one-year old. Since babies are not able to control their positions while they sleep, they cannot sense danger or get themselves out of dangerous situations. They can easily get tangled up in their clothes, especially those that have strings or ribbons on them, or bedding without their parents knowing. They may even place objects in their mouth increasing their chances of getting choked. Some of them, as they learn to stand, seriously injure themselves as they fall over the cot rail while climbing up their toys trying to get out of their cot. Therefore, many parents worry about their children as they put them inside their cots to sleep.
Crib and cot safety guidelines
According to research, it is recommended that infants must be made sleep on their back in the cots. This way they are less likely at a risk compared to when they are made to sleep on their stomachs. Your baby may change positions at night but you can always turn them over to sleep on their back again. There are baby positioners also available that you can use to restrict your baby from changing their positions while sleeping.
When you put your baby in their crib, make sure that they are facing up. This way they will go to sleep easily as you say goodnight. The bedding inside their crib must be chosen properly. It must be 100 per cent cotton and comfortable. Extremely soft beddings can cause suffocations so you must take care of your baby and keep a constant check over them. Avoid covering their faces with blankets or comforters. Make everyone aware of all these precautions.
If your baby starts crying or becomes restless in the middle of the night, and you know that they have just had their feed, then it is an indication that your room may have become too warm or uncomfortable for them. You must immediately make sure that they are not wrapped in excessive layers of clothing because it is discomforting. Lower down your room temperature according to their liking.
All parents must place their child’s cot next to their own bed to keep their baby safe at least if they are less than 6 months old. It is called co-sleeping, when you put your baby’s crib near yourself because you want them near you during the night. This makes night time breastfeeding a lot easier for mothers while at the same time reducing the risks of sudden infant death syndrome. You may even use a baby monitor to keep track of your baby’s movements. This way you can monitor their breathing with the help of such advanced baby monitors.
Babies must not sleep with their parents in their parents’ bed. Bed-sharing is not allowed because adult beds are not considered safe for babies. This way they have higher chances of entrapment and suffocation.
Safety while setting up the cots
When you are setting up the Cot for your baby, make sure you follow the assembling instructions properly. Do not place it near heaters, windows, curtains or power points. Avoid using electric blankets for babies and toddlers.
Do not give them small toys to play with that they can easily put into their mouths. Do not hang anything nearby that can hurt or injure them. Make sure that the cot stays uncluttered. When your child has learnt how to stand, remove any toys inside their cot that they can use to climb over and come outside. This increases the chances of injuries.
Always check that the cot has four castors and the nuts are screwed tightly. It must have brakes in case you want to move it from one place to another. Make sure that when your baby has slept you put the drop side up.
Things to care about
- Infants must be provided a proper and safe place to sleep even when you are travelling. Car seats and infant carriers are not the right options for them. Nothing can replace their crib.
- If you want quality sleep for your baby, they must sleep in a room that is dark and quiet with a slightly cooler temperature.
- Sleepers are perfect for babies. Dressing them in sleepers avoid the need of covering them with blankets.
- Always keep them away from cigarettes and smoke. Expecting mothers who smoke and continue exposing their newborns to smoke after their birth increase their chances of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Make sure to let your baby sleep alone and even fall asleep on their own. This way they will learn to comfort themselves.
- Keep their cribs empty ensuring that there is nothing inside that can possibly hurt them.
- It is best to establish a consistent and predictable bedtime routine. Make sure that they go to sleep at the same time every night. Also ensure the same nap times, even on weekends.
- As you change your baby while preparing them to go to bed, spare out some time to do something special with them depending upon how old they are. For example, set aside 20 to 30 minutes and talk to them, or quietly play with them. You may even read out part of a book to them. All of this is surely going to help you create a bond with them that is only going to strengthen with time.
Peaceful slumber is crucial for keeping your children healthy. By following the above-mentioned precautions, you can ensure a safe sleeping environment for toddlers and babies.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.