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Baby Nursery Crib Safety - How to Prevent the Risk of SIDS

Written by Caroline Chou


Posted on September 25 2023

Congratulations, you are putting together a nursery! Whether it is for your own little one on the way or for a family member or friend when they visit, it can be very exciting to pick out decor and furniture just to your taste.

Pinterest boards or a baby registry full of your favorite colors and themes is a wonderful part of the preparation, but there is more to consider than just looks. In fact, the safety of the child needs to be the foremost thought when planning your nursery:

Why is Crib Safety Important?

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a catch-all term for the sudden death of a healthy infant in their sleep, and infants aged 1-4 months are at the highest risk. In 2019, SIDS was responsible for the death of 27,700 infant deaths world-wide, and is one of the leading causes of infant death. While this number may sound scary, we have seen a huge decline in SIDS as well as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed since the 1990's as we learn more about it and how to better prevent it.

It is currently thought that babies who die of SIDS do so as a result of a number of different factors:

  1. Premature birth
  2. Environmental Stressors (tobacco smoke, poor bedding setup, co-sleeping)

It is thought that the child's response to environmental stressors (such as heart rate and breathing mechanism) is the eventual cause of SIDS.

The good news is, there are a number of ways you can optimize your baby's sleep environment to reduce the risk:

Crib Safety: What Not to Do

  1. Cover the baby's head
    Anything that runs the risk of obstructing the baby's airways increases the risk of SIDS. Loose clothes or hats that can fall off and get in the way are a no-no.
  2. Remove loose sheets, blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib
    While it may mess with the instagram-perfect aesthetic you want, the only bedding that should be used in the crib or bassinet is a tightly-fitted sheet. Loose bedding or decor can obstruct airways.
  3. Don't use a crib bumper in the first 6 months
    For the same reason, a crib bumper should not be used early on.
  4. Do not share a bed with your baby
    While it may be tempting, bed-sharing can increase the risk of SIDS simply because of the extra pillows and blankets found on adult beds. Instead, use a side sleeper bassinet, or get the Snoo bassinet to put next to your adult bed.
  5. Let anyone smoke near your baby
    Just as with adults, second-hand smoke can cause respiratory issues in infants.
  6. Use anything other than a flat surface for sleep
    Car seats, swings, or positioners can cause obstruction of the airway by improperly positioning them.

Crib Safety: What to Do

  1. Place baby on their back to sleep
    The best way to make sure your baby's airways remain unobstructed is to place them on their back to sleep. Side and stomach sleeping will increase the risk of SIDS.
  2. Keep the temperature moderate
    Feeling too cold or too hot will not only disrupt sleep, but can also contribute to SIDS risk.
  3. Use a swaddle or wearable blanket
    Loose blankets can be dangerous for a small baby, so use swaddles or wearable sleepbags to prevent any airway obstruction.
  4. Breastfeed
    Brestfeeding, if possible, will decrease the risk of SIDS
  5. Use a pacifier
    Pacifiers can help aid or regulate respiratory rate for babies
  6. Share a room for the first 6 months
    Finally, keeping baby nearby in the first 6 months - even if that means using your beautiful nursery a little less in the first 6 months - will allow you to hear and respond to any potential problems in a timely manner. A bedside bassinet is a great way to keep baby close at night.

Want some ideas on how to design a Nursery with a safe sleeping space? Contact us - we are here to help!