Safe sleep spaces for every baby

safe sleep girl

The first few days and weeks after going home from the hospital can be especially stressful for parents of newborns. On top of dealing with feeding, crying and diapers, parents also must provide a safe place for their babies to sleep. This can be especially worrisome for families in need.

Safe sleep spaces for babies in need

The Salem Health Foundation helps reduce those worries by providing Pack ’n Plays that are given away by the hospital’s women’s and children’s services. These portable cribs offer firm, protected sleeping spaces for babies once they get home.

“This is such a relief. I didn’t know how we were going to afford a crib,” said one new mom who received a Pack ’n Play from Salem Health. “I was starting to think the baby would have to sleep with me. After I learned about the risks of doing that, I was very scared.”

Studies show that sleep-related infant deaths are directly related to how much parents know about providing their baby with a safe sleep space. A nurse from the hospital’s mother/baby unit or the neonatal intensive care unit goes over educational materials with every Pack ’n Play recipient.

Since Sept. 2016, Salem Health has given away two or three cribs per month for families that do not qualify for other assistance programs, such as Cribs for Kids, under the Oregon Child Development Coalition.

Sleep sacks

Infants usually sleep comfortably without blankets. If a room is particularly cool, a baby may need an extra layer. Experts recommend using a sleep sack instead of a blanket. They are worn over baby’s clothing and should be removed if the baby shows signs of overheating, such as a flushed face, damp hair or fast breathing.

Sleep sacks should be sized according to your baby’s weight and should not be worn when he or she is awake. The Oregon Child Development Coalition recommends the Halo brand sleep sack, which provides a downward facing zipper for easy diaper changing and reduced risk of zipper-related injuries.

Safe sleep tips

Feeling sleep deprived and struggling to remember all the safe sleep tips for baby? Refer to this handy list:

  • Use a firm sleep surface in a crib for baby to sleep on. Make sure it has a tight-fitting bottom sheet. If the baby leaves an impression on the mattress, it is too soft.
  • Put pillows, blankets, soft toys or crib bumpers in baby’s sleep area.
  • Place baby on their back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Cover a sleeping baby’s head.
  • Dress baby in lightweight sleep clothing and control the room temperature (70 degrees is ideal).
  • Let baby sleep in an adult bed, or on a couch or chair alone, with you or with anyone else.
  • Put baby’s sleep area in your bedroom to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Let anyone smoke around your baby.

If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s sleeping space, visit the Oregon Child Development Coalition website or talk to your pediatrician or baby’s primary care doctor.