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Keeping your infant warm and comfortable while she sleeps is vital but there are certain factors you need to consider to also keep her safe.
Sleeping surface, body temperature, and sleeping position have all been linked with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Thus, it is important to be knowledgeable about the best sleeping practices, including keeping your infant warm, to decrease the risk of SIDS.
Setting up the Nursery to Keep Your Baby Warm and Safe
Alter the temperature of the room.
Your baby’s nursery should be a comfortable and safe place to rest.
You can help your baby rest well by setting the nursery’s temperature to support a restful, healthy environment.
It is recommended that your baby’s nursery should be maintained at a temperature of 68-72 °F (°20-22.2 °C) in order to keep it safe and comfortable.
Position your baby’s crib in an ideal location.
The position of your baby’s crib in the nursery affects how much heat your baby experiences.
Keep in mind the different factors that affect the temperature in his room when you are placing furniture in his nursery.
Your baby’s crib should be several feet away from drafty windows, air vents, fans and heaters so that he is not directly bathing in the cool or hot air.
Keep your baby away from drafty windows especially if there are curtain cords that might blow in the wind.
These cords pose a potential strangulation hazard to your baby.
Choose a certified crib.
You should only use a certified crib that does not pose hazards to your baby.
The bars should not be too narrow or wide so that any of the infant’s body parts get stuck, and there should be no dangling objects that might pose a strangulation or choking hazards.
Look for a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) when choosing a crib and only purchase used cribs that come with this certificate.
According to the new regulations, cribs sold at stores after 2011 must comply with the new federal crib safety standards.
The crib should also be stable with a firm sleeping surface that supports back sleeping.
Your baby can sleep in a crib in your room, but should not co-sleep in a bed or chair with you or another person, as this increases your baby’s risk of smothering and overheating.
Use a firm mattress.
Your baby should sleep on a firm crib mattress that is not too plush.
Mattresses made of too soft material can present a smothering hazard.
A firm mattress supports back sleeping, which has been linked to decreased risk of SIDS.
Your infant may choose to sleep on her stomach after she learns to roll over at six months.
Keep your baby warm on her firm mattress by using a tight, fitted flannel sheet.
The sheet should not bunch up, as it could cover your baby’s nose and mouth and increase their risk of suffocation.
Preheat the crib with a hot water bottle or heating pad.
You may want to preheat the crib if it is very cold in the house.
The best thing you can do is make the nursery warm enough so that your baby can comfortably sleep in lightweight pajamas without heavy blankets
Place a hot water bottle or electric blanket in the baby’s crib for a small amount of time before he goes down to sleep.
Make sure that you remove it before you place him in the crib to prevent overheating and burns.
Do not leave an electric blanket in your baby’s crib. This can cause him to overheat.
Young infants are unable to regulate their own baby temperature, so you must be very careful.
You should not use loose blankets in the crib at all to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Keeping Baby Warm and Safe in the Crib
Dress your infant in pajamas.
Your baby’s pajamas should support warm and comfortable sleep, while being safe.
Make sure that you are not dressing your infant too warmly, especially if the room temperature is elevated.
Dress your baby in lightweight pajamas that cover most of her body if you are worried about keeping her cozy.
These are sometimes known as “onesies.”
According to the SIDS prevention guidelines, a baby should ideally not be dressed in more than one layer, or no more layers than an adult in a similar environment.
If you will swaddle your baby, only use a thin onesie to prevent overheating.
Swaddle your baby.
Swaddling helps your baby maintain body heat and allows her to sleep comfortably on her back.
You can purchase a swaddling blanket with easy-to-use closures or use a square light-weight blanket to make your own swaddle.
Diagonally fold a square lightweight blanket into a triangle shape.
Lay the baby in the middle of the triangle with her feet toward the bottom point.
Pull one side of the blanket over the baby’s chest.
You may choose to leave your baby’s arm free to suck on their fingers.
Flip the bottom point over the baby’s feet up toward the chest.
Bring the last corner up over the baby’s chest, wrapping it securely but not too tight.
Set your baby in the crib in supine position.
Sleeping position is a factor that increases the risk of SIDS.
Placing your baby in supine position (on his back) is considered the best and safest sleeping position.
Avoid putting your baby to sleep on his stomach or side.
Putting your baby to sleep on his stomach or side increases his risk of choking or suffocating on his clothing and bedding.
Keep the baby's crib clean and clear of clutter.
A clear crib is a safe crib.
Do not use blankets and other loose materials in the crib that may cause suffocation.
You can keep your baby warm with a lightweight blanket that is tucked into the foot of their mattress and reaches no further than her armpits.
Soft toys and loose blankets present smothering hazards for your baby and increase your baby’s risk of SIDS.
Your baby should not sleep with a pillow.
If your baby turns her head in her sleep, she could smother on the loose edges of the pillow or pillowcase.
Keep your baby from overheating.
Your baby can become dehydrated if he overheats and sweats too much.
Overheating has also been linked with increased risk of SIDS.
Some cases of SIDS have been linked to infants overheating.
Make sure you keep an eye on your baby’s temperature to make sure it does not get higher than 100 °F (37.7 °C).
Regulate the temperature in your baby’s nursery and monitor your baby for signs of overheating, such as sweat on his chest or in his hairline.
Do not cover your baby’s face with a blanket or over-bundle your baby.
The baby should be clothed or wrapped in no more than one layer than adults are wearing in the same temperatures.
In warm weather, your baby may only need to sleep in a light onesie or even just a diaper.