Sadly, a 5-month-old baby boy died recently after being put to bed in an adult-sized bed with his twin sister. The boy was put to sleep on his back, but when his father found him in the morning, he was face-down underneath his sister. And making this god-awful story all the more tragic is the fact that this wasn't the first baby to die after sleeping in an adult-sized bed with others in the family. The little boy's half-brother passed away at 2 months old. He was found unresponsive in the morning after sharing a bed with his mother, father, and sister.
In both cases, there were a crib and a Pack 'n' Play found in the room the children were sleeping in, respectively. The crib was apparently broken in the case of the first boy who died. In both instances, evidence of smoking was found.
I can't imagine what these poor parents are going through. Losing a child is hands-down the worst thing in the entire world -- losing two? I honestly don't even know how they go on. So, in an effort reduce awful things like this from happening again and increase baby safety, here are seven rules for baby safe sleeping:
1. Don't put any blankets in crib with baby. God forbid, your baby could pull the blanket over his head and not know how to get it off.
2. Don't use bumpers in cribs. Doctors have been urging parents to avoid bumpers for a while now, but some people still use them. Deaths of babies from 1 month to 2 years have been attributed to suffocation when baby became wedged against a bumper or from strangulation by a bumper tie around the neck. Don't even use the mesh ones -- best to avoid altogether.
3. Avoid smoke. Keep your baby away from smoke as much as possible. If there's a smoker in the house, please have them go outside, as smoking has been linked to SIDS.
4. Place baby on her back. Always put your baby to sleep on her back, as placing babies on their stomachs also has been linked to SIDS. There will come a time when baby can roll over on her own, but until then, "back is best".
5. Keep the room cool. The recommended temperature for a baby's room is around 65-70 degrees.
6. If you're going to cosleep, never drink before bed. For obvious reasons.
7. If you're going to cosleep, make sure your bed is away from anything. There have been instances where babies have died from getting lodged in between the mattress and a piece of furniture. Move it away from anything, and as baby gets bigger, you may want to simply place the mattress on the floor.
Please spread the word.
How do you put your baby to sleep?
Image via Associated Fabrication/Flickr