Giving Your Baby Sweet Dreams and a Safe Nest

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Thank you Jessica for sharing these tips.

shutterstock_146409245Most infant fatalities and accidents occur within the home, a fact which stresses many parents significantly. Fortunately, simple prevention and precautions can help eliminate many risks. Here are some key steps to take to keep your baby safe at night while sleeping. 

No Stuffed Animals, Blankets, or Pillows in Crib

Nothing makes a child’s bed look more complete than a few choice stuffed animals and some decorative pillows. But suffocation remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States for children under one year old according to the Safe Kids Worldwide Home Safety Fact Sheet. Over 75 percent of all children suffocated are less than one year old and such accidents typically happen while the child is sleeping. CSPC estimates that there are more than 700 deaths each year. Over half of these result from pillows, blankets, and other items filling the crib or basinet. 

To reduce the risk, it’s important to keep cribs empty of all but soft fitted sheets. Many parents are willing to give up pillows and stuffed animals, but relinquishing blankets is harder. After all, you don’t want your baby to get cold during the night. However, quilts can trap and suffocate an infant quite easily if her face should get stuck beneath the blanket. Instead, dress your baby in warm pajamas with socks and mittens during the cold months. Depending on your baby’s size, she may be able to have a blanket after six months to one year, according to an article “When Is My Baby Ready” published on

Keep Attachments Secure

When emptying the crib of all but the fitted sheets, you may notice how hard the crib slats are. You may think that a soft cloth bumper pad will protect your baby, but in states like Illinois they’re illegal because of the risk. Instead, you can look for pads that snap directly onto the crib slats themselves. This way, if your baby rolls against the side of the crib, she can still breathe. Just regularly check to ensure that the coverings are secure.

If you decide to hang a mobile or any sort of toy on the crib, ensure that it is securely fastened. Double brackets often work best. To further protect your baby, make sure that the brackets and fasteners are not within the baby’s reach and turned outward from the crib.

Perform Regular Safety Checks 

Ideally you should opt for well-made cribs offered by premium companies, The Honest Company can serve as a good example; however once a month or so, you’ll want to check the crib thoroughly to ensure it’s still in good condition and won’t pose a threat to your baby.   

First, make sure that the mattress is firm and fits tightly within the crib frame. Some mattresses can buckle or slope with age. When that happens, you need to replace the mattress or flip it. Just make sure that it is not pushing the baby toward the edge.

Second, examine the crib slats and slat bumpers (if you have them) to make sure that they aren’t cracked. Even small cracks can cut your baby’s delicate skin. The crib should also be cleaned regularly. Check for loose slats as well, particularly once your baby is old enough to stand or jostle the crib.

Don’t Let the Kitty In

Your cat may absolutely love your little baby, and it’s certainly cute to get pictures of the two snuggling together. But that can be risky, particularly at night. The biggest threat at night and when the child sleeps is that the cat may rest on her face or suffocate her in some way.

The other risk is toxoplasmosis, which can cause parasites and illness. You probably know that as a pregnant mother, you must avoid getting scratched or cleaning the litter pan to avoid contracting toxoplasmosis. But the risk doesn’t end once the baby comes. An otherwise healthy baby or child can contract this from cat scratches or contact with surfaces a cat has been on after using the litter pan. It is not overly common, but if your baby has a compromised immune system, her risk will be even greater.

Here are some of the most common symptoms that Kids Health lists:

  • Enlarged liver and or spleen
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Jaundice beyond typical levels for child’s age
  • Rash
  • Bruises and bleeding beneath the skin
  • Anemia
  • Fever

If you start noticing these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately. Even if it is not toxoplasmosis, your baby needs medical attention.

Being a parent can bring with it many stresses. Not the least of which is the fear that something might hurt your baby. To help prevent accidents from occurring while your baby is sleeping, you need to take certain precautions such as removing all the excess items from your baby’s crib, keeping all crib items secure, checking the crib regularly, and keeping the cat out. All of these things can help keep your little bundle of joy safe and sound.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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