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September 24, 2018
Having a new baby in the family is certainly an exciting time. Every day brings new milestones: the first bath, the first smile, and yes, the first time sleeping through the night. While most newborns sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours every day, it usually occurs in two-hour increments, leading parents to several nights of interrupted sleep. The effects of sleepless nights can build quickly, leaving new moms and dads to tackle their everyday tasks in a foggy haze. If you have ever had trouble sleeping, you would know first-hand that your mind is not as sharp; you might be forgetful and irritable. This can be very dangerous when caring for an infant, making it easier for accidents to happen.
In 2016, according to the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, suffocation was the leading cause of injury death in infants under 1 year old. There are some precautions that parents can take to prevent suffocation accidents, and it begins with safe sleeping practices.
The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is highest in the first six months of life. To reduce the risk of SIDS, babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep. This should be done through their first birthday.
While nothing begs “good sleep” more than cuddling with a sleeping baby, if you feel yourself starting to doze off, put the baby down in a safe sleeping environment before falling asleep yourself. Co-sleeping is not safe and puts the baby at risk of suffocation or SIDS – this includes sharing a bed with other children.
Margie Boyer, MS, RNC, Manager of Patient Safety for Women & Children at Florida Hospital Tampa offers a simple message around babies and safe sleep for new parents and families: “Remember ABC: Alone, on their Back, in their Crib. Babies need to be placed ALONE, on their BACK, and in their CRIB.” Boyer and a team from Florida Hospital Tampa have made safe sleep a priority for their patients. “Florida Hospital Tampa was chosen as the hospital from the State to work on the National Initiative (NICHQ NAPPSS) to make safe sleep and breastfeeding the national norm,” Boyer says. “We are working closely with our community providers to achieve this goal.”
Until babies can roll over front to back, supervised “tummy time” each day while awake encourages babies to practice gross motor skills that lead to rolling front to back, crawling and exploring the world. Experts advise starting with 15–20-minute periods two or three times a day and gradually trying longer or more frequent periods once the infant begins to enjoy being in this position.
By simply following these safe sleep practices, we promise you and your baby will eventually get a great night’s rest.
Margie Boyer, MS, RNC
Manager of Patient Safety for Women & Children at Florida Hospital Tampa