Safe Sleep Essentials for Babies

In the state of Kentucky, an infant passes away from a sleep-related risk factor every five days.* As a healthcare partner in the Northern Kentucky community, St. Elizabeth Healthcare is dedicated to helping our patients create safe sleep environments for their babies starting on their first day home from the hospital. Our goal is to educate and encourage safe sleep in our community.

(*source: Safe Sleep KY)

The ABCD’s of safe sleep
First, the basics. The ABCD’s of safe sleep should always be followed:

  • A – Alone: Babies should sleep alone – no crib bumpers, toys, pillows or blankets. It’s safest for a baby to sleep in the same room as his or her parents; however, in the baby’s own crib or bassinet – never in bed with parents.
  • B – Back: A baby should always be placed on his or her back to fall asleep at night or during naps. Use a firm mattress in the crib, bassinet or Pack ‘n Play to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • C – Crib: The safest place for a baby to sleep is in his or her crib with only a fitted sheet. Pacifiers are permitted if the baby uses them; however, make sure not to attach the pacifier via clip or string. Never put a baby to sleep on a soft surface like an adult bed, couch or chair.
  • D – Danger: Be aware – not impaired. Avoid smoking, drug use or drinking around your baby. It will impair your ability to care for him or her and increases the danger of unsafe sleep.

Baby registry: a few safe sleep must-haves
Registering for your baby’s arrival can be both fun and completely overwhelming. With thousands of products on the market, it’s difficult to know what is essential to your child’s health and well-being.

The must-have safe sleep registry items include:

  • Firm crib mattress
  • Tight-fitting crib sheets
  • Crib
  • Bassinet or Pack ‘n Play for when baby is small
  • Footed sleepers
  • Baby sleep sacks

Items such as pacifiers, pacifier clips, loveys, blankets and bibs are all helpful – just not in the baby’s crib.

Breastfeeding and safe sleep
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to connect with your baby. However, in recent years there has been a debate about co-sleeping while breastfeeding.

“Often, people feel that safe sleep practices can interfere with successful breastfeeding, but that is simply not true!” says Tabatha Biddle, Maternal Child Health Education Specialist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “It’s just crucial to follow safe sleep practices once a feeding session is complete.”

Safe sleep practices include putting the baby to sleep alone in their crib on his or her back. According to Sleep Safe KY, a website that promotes safe sleeping for infants, research shows that breastfed babies are at a lower risk for SIDS if safe sleep practices are followed.

A study referenced on Sleep Safe KY states that infants who are breastfed and kept in bed with their mother to co-sleep have a nearly three-times increased chance of dying from SIDS than breastfed infants who sleep in safe sleep environments. Always put your baby back into their crib, bassinet or Pack ‘n Play after feeding, whether your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed.

St. Elizabeth is here to help
At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, it’s our goal to provide parents with the knowledge to give their baby a safe sleep environment. This helpful video about SIDS is a must-see for all parents. If you would like more information about safe sleep, please contact Tabatha Biddle at (859) 301-9470.