About 3,500 babies die each year in the United States during sleep because of unsafe sleep environments. Some of these deaths are caused by entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation. Some infants die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, there are ways for parents to keep their sleeping baby safe.
Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how parents can create a safe sleep environment for their babies. This information should also be shared with anyone who cares for babies, including grandparents, family, friends, babysitters, and child care center staff.
Note: These recommendations are for healthy babies up to 1 year of age. A very small number of babies with certain medical conditions may need to be placed to sleep on their stomach. Your baby's doctor can tell you what is best for your baby.
What You Can Do:
If your baby doesn’t tolerate tummy time—and even if she does, you are encouraged to try the following activities:
Activity #1: Tummy to Tummy
It’s a good idea to begin exposing your baby to tummy time while you’re both still in the hospital. The earlier you start, the more likely your baby will accept the stomach as a natural position. In fact, before the umbilical cord has fallen off, you can position your newborn on your stomach or chest while you are awake and in a reclined position on a chair, bed, or floor (with a pillow to support your head), tummy to tummy with baby.
Take this perfect opportunity to socialize with your newborn and encourage lots of eye contact. Talk in animated tones and use exaggerated expressions to get her to look at you. It’s a special time to bond tummy to tummy.
You can also position your baby tummy down across your lap lengthwise while providing head support. Remember to keep her head aligned with her body. If she falls asleep in that position, just transfer her to the bed (but place her down to sleep on her back). For more stimulation, slowly raise and lower your legs at the same time, then move them slowly from side to side. This motion will likely calm your little one.
Babies need to be exposed to a variety of textures throughout the day, and tummy time is the perfect opportunity to accomplish this. When your baby is on her tummy, the skin on her stomach, legs, arms, and face touches the surface on which she is lying. The most natural place to play is on a clean floor, a nap mat, or blankets of different textures. (Note: Blankets should be secured so they don’t slide around when baby moves her arms or legs.) As she moves her body, arms, and legs against the surface, the friction that is created lets her know where her body is located in space.
Additionally, your baby will gain strength and flexibility during tummy time. Dressing your little one in an infant body suit (eg, Onesie) for tummy time allows her to feel the various textures on her arms and legs.
Tummy time also allows your baby to visually explore the environment in a new way. When positioned on her back, she can see only the ceiling and whatever is directly around her. But on her stomach, she uses her muscles to lift her head and see the world at eye level, giving her a completely different view of the world—a new perspective!
An Important ReminderOnce your baby starts participating in tummy time, be sure to provide supervision. In this world of distractions, your phone will ring or you’ll get called to another room, but stay with your baby because the AAP recommends that tummy time be supervised.
Babies with Special Health Care NeedsIf your baby was born premature or has reflux disease or special needs, speak with your child’s pediatrician about tummy time. Some babies need special consideration.
Side Lying With SupportSide lying is a great alternative to tummy time if your baby doesn’t tolerate being on her stomach. Place your baby on a blanket on her side; if needed, prop her back against a rolled-up towel for support. If her head needs support, place a small, folded washcloth under her head. Both of baby’s arms should be in front of her, and you should bring her legs forward at the hips and bend her knees to make her comfortable.
Don’t forget to distract your baby with a fun toy or read her an entertaining book while she’s in this position. It is best to set up a regular time for tummy time and side lying, such as after naps, baths, or diaper changes. Just be sure to have a plan in place and take care to vary your baby’s position every 10 to 15 minutes during playtime
Strive to expose your baby to a variety of positions throughout the day, including time spent in your arms and on your lap. Remember, babies crave emotional interaction and connection with their parents.
Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L
Retro Baby (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Encouraging Your Newborn to LearnAs you care for your newborn, he or she is learning to recognize your touch, the sound of your voice, and the sight of your face.
In the first few weeks you may want to introduce some simple, age-appropriate toys that appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, such as:
What is safe and unsafe for your baby to eat at a holiday meal?
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for your extended family is no simple chore, so you'd rather not add "make dinner for baby" to your already long to-do list. Give thanks: If your child's closing in on his first birthday and transitioning to table foods, you can serve him at least some of the typical Thanksgiving menu, says registered dietitian Cathie Squatrito, director of medical affairs for Gerber. Just be sure all the foods you do offer your baby are diced very small (about 1/4 inch in size) and cooked to the point of being well-done (soft enough to gum).
Good for gobbling
Author: Strephanie Woods
Find something for your little gnawer that’s cool to touch but tough to chew on—a wet washcloth chilled in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes, a frozen banana or berries if you’ve introduced solids, solid (not liquid-filled) teething rings chilled in the fridge or freezer (take them out before they are rock hard), a frozen bagel, your finger, or a “lovey”-type toy.
If Your Baby is Older than 6 to 9 Months:
Offer a slow-flow sippy cup of cool water to suck on and drink for comfort. Of note, plastic teething rings with liquids have been given a bad name in the past few years due to recalls— potential bacteria growing in liquid and the possibility of a baby cutting through the ring and into the liquid.
As many parents try to avoid plastics (due to presence of phthalates/BPA), use the washcloth method or a cotton sock rolled up tightly to gnaw on. Silicone and latex chewy toys may be a safer bet.
Let your baby gnaw on your fingers (if his or her teeth haven’t come through), or rub your baby’s gums with your clean fingers for comfort.
If you’re breastfeeding and your baby isn’t interested in a teething toy but more interested in chewing on your nipples (eeeeeek) or your arms, especially around the time of feeding, massage your baby’s gums with your fingers dipped in cool water prior to starting a feeding.
Clean teething toys, washcloths, or socks after each use. And know that it’s absolutely fine to let your baby chew all day if he or she enjoys it. Still, nothing about gnawing means pain.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP
How to Calm a Fussy Baby: Tips for Parents & CaregiversHere are ways you can try to comfort a crying baby. It may take a few tries, but with patience and practice you'll find out what works and what doesn't for your baby.
Tips for Dressing Your BabyStep-by-Step
During the first few weeks, your baby will spend most of his or her time wrapped in a receiving blanket. Not only does this keep your baby warm, but the slight pressure around the body seems to give most newborns a sense of security.
How to swaddle correctly:
Originally published : www.healthychildren.org
Heat rash is seen most often in babies and young children. It occurs during hot and humid weather. It is caused when the sweat gland openings become blocked. This results in little red bumps around the sweat duct openings.
What to Look For:
First Aid for Families (PedFACTs) (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatric
By Vincent Iannelli, MD - Reviewed by a board-certified physician.
Updated March 01, 2017
While it is best to simply try and avoid exposing your baby to the sun, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that when necessary, "a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands."
When to Start Using Sunscreen on Your Baby?
It used to be advised that you should not use sunscreen on babies less than six months old, but the AAP now states that sunscreen is probably safe to use on younger children, especially if you just use it on small areas of your baby's skin exposed to the sun and not protected by clothing.
This has more to do with avoiding the dangers of getting too much sun and allowing your baby to get sunburned, though. In fact, the latest AAP policy statement about infants under six months of age and the hazards of UV radiation states that "Parents may apply sunscreen when sun avoidance is impossible and, then, only on exposed areas. "
Younger children should be kept out of direct sunlight because they can burn easily and may not be able to handle getting overheated as well as older children.
So even though it is likely safe to use sunscreen on kids less than six months old, it is safer to keep them out of the sun.
Even when you are out and about on a sunny day, find ways to keep your baby in the shade.
Best Baby SunscreenIf you do use a sunscreen, which is best for your baby?
In general, you should get a sunscreen:
Crying serves several useful purposes for your baby. It gives her a way to call for help when she’s hungry or uncomfortable. It helps her shut out sights, sounds, and other sensations that are too intense to suit her. And it helps her release tension.
You may notice that your baby has fussy periods throughout the day, even though she’s not hungry, uncomfortable, or tired. Nothing you do at these times will console her, but right after these spells, she may seem more alert than before, and shortly thereafter she may sleep more deeply than usual. This kind of fussy crying seems to help babies get rid of excess energy so they can return to a more contented state.
Pay close attention to your baby’s different cries. You’ll soon be able to tell when she needs to be picked up, consoled, or tended to, and when she is better off left alone. You may even be able to identify her specific needs by the way she cries. For instance, a hungry cry is usually short and low-pitched, and it rises and falls. An angry cry tends to be more turbulent. A cry of pain or distress generally comes on suddenly and loudly with a long, high-pitched shriek followed by a long pause and then a flat wail. The “leave-me-alone” cry is usually similar to a hunger cry. It won’t take long before you have a pretty good idea of what your baby’s cries are trying to tell you.