We share some useful tips for creating a safe, secure sleeping environment for your little one.
When it comes to thinking about how and where your baby will be sleeping during infancy, there are some important points to consider. Naturally you will want your newborn's sleep to be as comfortable and safe as possible in his or her first months, which, as well as helping them swiftly along to the land of nod, will give you the peace of mind to catch up on much-needed rest yourself. Here we discuss some handy safety tips to take into account when putting baby to bed.
What should my baby's room be like?
What kind of cot should my baby sleep in?
- Ideally your baby should sleep in the same room as you during their first few months as this has been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- It's important for your baby to be sleeping at the correct temperature without getting too hot or too cold. The optimal temperature advised by NHS Direct is between 16C and 20C (61-68F).
- Baby's sleeping environment should be smoke-free at all times.
- Make sure that the room is quiet. You may have to close windows or oil squeaky door-hinges if your baby is especially noise-sensitive.
- Ensure that there are no dangling cords near to where your baby sleeps to avoid them becoming tangled in them.
- Also, position the cot away from windows, heaters, and any furniture that your baby might be able to use to climb out of the cot.
How should I put my baby to bed?
- Your baby should be slumbering in a cot fitted with bars less than 45-65mm apart to prevent his or her head slipping between the bars.
- Also, make sure that there are no sharp points baby could catch themselves on, or cut-outs in the headboard that could trap tiny limbs.
- Ensure that the cot is painted with lead-free paint in order to avoid the risk of lead poisoning.
- The mattress should be clean and dry, and fitted so that it is flush against the sides of the cot. Make sure there is no danger of your baby slipping off the mattress.
- It's currently recommended that if you're using a previously-owned cot, you should still get a new mattress.
- There should be no cuddly toys or cushions in the cot with baby when he or she is put to bed. Soft objects can create a risk if baby becomes pushed up against them in the night and is unable to breathe.
- Always remember to keep the side rails of your baby's cot up and locked into position when baby is in the cot.
- When your baby grows enough to be able to pull him or herself upright, any mobiles or decorations that hang across the cot should be removed before they present a hazard.
What kind of bedding should my baby sleep in?
- Unless you have been advised otherwise by your healthcare provider, you should always lay your baby flat on their back when you put them down for a sleep, as this has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- It's also advisable to put baby to bed with their feet towards the bottom of the mattress, with the blankets tucked in, to prevent them wriggling down under their covers in the night.
When should I move my baby from cot to bed?
- If you are using second-hand bedding, be aware of the risk of wear and tear. Worn, badly ventilated bedding can increase the risk of SIDS by not allowing baby to breathe freely.
- Check that any sleepwear you use for your baby is flame-retardant.
- Don't give your baby a hot water bottle or electric blanket to sleep with.
- Your baby should be sleeping on a surface that is flat and firm, so no need for a pillow.
- Avoid duvets, too, until baby is at least a year old; instead use cotton cot blankets.
- Keep baby's head uncovered - blankets should be tucked in only up to their chest.
- With your baby growing so fast, it's hard to tell when they have outgrown their cot. As a general rule, it's time to move him or her to a bed if, when standing, the top rail of the cot comes to below their chest.