Search the Planet

Custom Search


Someone Might Be Sleeping in Your Bed

New parents take the time to baby proof their kitchen cabinets, coffee tables and other risky areas in the home. But what about baby proofing your bed?

Only about 13 per cent of parents admit to sleeping next to their child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents sleep close to their infant, but not in the same bed. Even so, some studies suggest that between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of babies spent at least some moments during their infancy in a parent’s bed. Often, it’s not intentional. An exhausted mother will fall asleep nursing her baby, or parents will comfort a sick child in the middle of the night by placing the baby in the bed between them.

Because parents can become “accidental” co-sleepers, every parent should safety-proof their bed, even if they don’t plan on sharing their bed with a baby, says James. J. McKenna, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. “In many ways, there isn’t a single sleep location for babies,'’ notes Dr. McKenna. “Sometimes babies sleep alone, sometimes they sleep with parents. My approach is to provide as much information as possible for minimizing risks and maximizing safety whatever the sleep environment baby and parents find themselves in.'’

Bed sharing has been branded unsafe, largely due to a 1999 report from the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission that concluded that 515 babies had died over an eight-year period while sharing a bed with parents. Critics say the report is flawed because it failed to compare the risks with other sleeping arrangements, including solitary crib sleeping and sleeping in playpens, which have also been implicated in accidental deaths.

Despite the debate, the report clearly showed that adult beds have structural risks that should be changed or removed once a baby enters the house. Here’s the way to safety proof an adult bed:

Remove puffy comforters, duvets and pillows, which pose a suffocation risk to infants. (Bedding also should be removed from cribs.) If it’s cold, put the baby in pajamas, but don’t let the child overheat. Parents should use only lightweight blankets if they have a baby in the bed.

Sleep in a bed with a firm mattress that fits tight against the bed frame. Never put a baby on a water bed — 79 of the deaths in the C.P.S.C. report occurred on water beds. Don’t sleep with your baby on sofas or overstuffed chairs. All soft surfaces where a baby can sink in pose a suffocation risk.

Remove headboards and footboards. Not only can slats and elaborate designs pose a risk, but babies can get stuck between the mattress and board. Push the bed away from the wall and bed stands. Make sure the bed is far from curtains, blinds, draperies and cords. The goal is to eliminate places where a baby can get wedged in.

The majority of deaths reported in the C.P.S.C. study were due to entrapment in bed structures, entanglement in cords and suffocation on water beds.

Babies should never sleep alone on an adult bed, even one that has been safety proofed. And babies shouldn’t sleep with siblings. Toddlers and older children can kick, knock, push or lay on top of the baby. If you want to sleep with your baby but already have a toddler in your bed, be sure to position yourself or another parent between the child and baby. Another solution is to purchase a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed.

Parents who smoke or drink or use drugs should take extra precautions so they don’t fall asleep with baby. This includes parents who have taken over-the-counter medications that might make them drowsy. Studies clearly show that kids who sleep with smokers are at higher risk than solitary sleepers, as are kids who sleep with parents who have used alcohol or drugs.

And no matter where a baby sleeps, he or she should always be put down on his back. Babies who sleep on their backs are at lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome than babies who sleep on their tummies.
(NewYork Times)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Wanna say-

Search This Blog