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Ways to Keep Your Baby Safe While Sleeping

Ways to Keep Your Baby Safe While Sleeping

A shocking 3,500 babies die from sleep-related issues annually in the US.

It’s a tradition in mystical Judaism (Kabbalah) for parents to tie a red ribbon around a leg of the crib to protect their sleeping infant from the Evil Eye. And centuries ago, people dressed babies (usually males) in blue-colored clothing to ward off evil spirits that lurked around nurseries at night.

Parents still worry about the safety of their infants during sleep; after all, even today about 3,500 babies die from sleep-related issues annually in the US. The problem is that it can be hard to know what offers comfort to your baby and what may be risky.

Some parents want to surround their baby with cuddly soft blankets, plush pillows and stuffed animals. Others favor keeping their baby beside them in bed. These approaches put an infant at risk for suffocation—the leading cause of injury and death in infants under a year old, according to a study in Pediatrics. Sixty-nine percent of such accidents are linked to soft bedding, usually in a grownup bed and nineteen percent from a parent or sibling rolling over on them. There are other hazards, too: The Consumer Safety Protection Commission recalled all models of the Kids II and Fisher-Price Rock N' Play inclined sleepers because of suffocation deaths caused by the babies rolling from their back to their stomach.

Babies should sleep flat on their backs in your room, but not on your mattress. Cribs should contain a firm mattress and fitted sheet—and nothing more. Keep ‘em warm with well-fitting jammies. You’ll all sleep soundly and safely.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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