When picking out a crib for your child, making sure you pick a safe baby crib and setting up a safe sleep environment should be your top priority. There are so many sleep products out there for parents to choose from, and many of them unfortunately are not actually safe for sleep.
That's why it is so important to shop from reputable sellers like GoodBuy Gear. GoodBuy Gear is a trusted third party reseller that takes safety and recalls very seriously. Every item on their site is quality checked and they have a team that stays up-to-date on all product recalls.
For example, inclined sleepers (often called baby docks, pods, loungers, nappers or nests) have tragically been tied to at least 97 infant deaths according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Recent legislation has outlawed the manufacture and sale of non-mesh crib bumpers and certain inclined infant sleepers, but ultimately it is up to parents to understand the guidelines around safe sleep so they can make the best choices for their family.
What Is Safe Sleep?
Safe sleep means setting up your baby’s sleep environment in a way that will protect your child from choking or suffocation (not being able to breathe) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of a seemingly healthy baby less than one-year-old (typically during sleep). While there is no way to completely prevent SIDS, there are some ways to reduce your baby’s risk.
With this in mind, we asked Tinyhood’s Pediatric Sleep Expert, Jennifer, to provide some guidance on how to make sure you are picking a safe baby bed for your child.
How Do I Pick a Safe Crib or Baby Bed for My Child?
When selecting a baby crib, it is crucial to ensure that it is up to date with safety standards.
When it comes to antique or vintage cribs, while they may look nice and are often family heirlooms, the spacing between the slats often does not conform to the current standard of 2 3/8 inches or less. The reason the slats need to be this distance apart is so you can make sure it isn’t possible for a baby's head to become lodged between the slats.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), here are the rules to keep in mind when choosing a safe baby crib:
- The crib's bars should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
- The mattress needs to be firm and should fit tightly within the walls of the crib.
- The crib sides should be at least 26 inches above the mattress support in its lowest position. As your child gets older, you can lower the mattress to ensure they can’t climb out.
- Do not use cribs with drop rails. These are not safe.
- Do not use non-mesh bumpers or inclined sleepers. Mesh crib bumpers are safe.
Click here for a list of recently recalled inclined sleepers.
What Are the Other Rules for Safe Sleep?
Jennifer also says to keep in mind these other guidelines for safe sleep, all of which are recommended by the AAP and are intended to keep your baby as safe as possible.
- Always put your baby on their back to sleep.
- Your baby’s mattress should be firm and flat. Your baby should not “sink” into the mattress even though that may seem comfortable.
- Keep your baby’s sleep space cool (around 68-72 degrees).
- A fitted sheet should be the only bedding in the crib. Never put a loose blanket in the crib.
- Only use wearable sleep sacks or, if you are swaddling, we recommend a sleep sack product instead of a loose blanket for swaddling.
- While they may look cute, do not put pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals or toys in the crib.
- When dressing your baby for sleep, don’t dress them too warmly. A lightweight footed sleeper is fine. And, don’t use hats or anything else that will cover your baby’s head.
- Once your child is about 3 feet tall, they should move out of the safe baby bed/crib and start sleeping in a toddler bed.
How Much Sleep Do Newborn Babies Need?
Jennifer says for the first month or so, this is what you should expect in terms of your baby’s sleep:
- They will sleep 14-16.5 hours per day.
- They should be awake for about 60-90 minutes at a time during the day
- During the night, they will wake often to feed.
- Their naps will be frequent and short - under 45 minutes.
- Expect your baby to go to sleep for the night later in the evening – usually after 9 PM. Again, in the early days, they will wake often to feed during the night, but try to start a relaxing, easy to repeat bedtime routine so your baby can begin to learn early that it’s “time for bed.”
To help extend the baby’s sleep and to reduce the moro or “startle” reflex in the newborn phase, it helps to swaddle your baby. In addition, a common challenge many parents encounter is the baby having some day vs. night confusion. In the womb, they are used to sleeping in a dark, noisy, confined space. Once they are out in the real world, it can be confusing! They don’t know when it is time to be awake or asleep.
What Else Can I Do To Help My Baby Sleep Well?
To set your baby (and you!) up for a restful night’s sleep and longer, predictable naps, Tinyhood’s Baby 101 online class is a great place to start. It is important to watch this class while you are pregnant or in your early newborn days so you can lay a healthy sleep foundation for your baby.
If you're in the market for safe sleep products for your baby, check out our carefully curated selection at GoodBuy Gear. Every product is cleaned and quality checked so both you and your baby can sleep soundly at night.