KID knows that dads play a crucial role in keeping kids safe, healthy and happy. In fact, dads today spend triple the amount of time caring for their children as dads did 50 years ago. Much of infant safety research and advice focuses on mom’s behavior, but it is important that dads also get information on how to protect their kids.
Sleep related infant deaths such as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) are the leading cause of preventable death in babies 1-12 months old, killing about 4,000 babies each year. These deaths are preventable, but images appearing in advertisements and on social media can contradict the experts’ safe sleep recommendations. One article from Fatherly documented the many pictures appearing on Instagram of fathers sleeping with their babies on their chests. Although this arrangement may look cozy, it can be dangerous, and even deadly, for babies and dads to fall asleep together in bed or on the couch. Creating a safe sleep environment for baby is the best way to reduce this risk of injury or death.
To celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, KID is sharing some tips on how dads everywhere can help babies sleep safe:
- Always place baby on their back to sleep, whether for naps or at night.
- Only use firm and flat sleep surfaces, such as a crib, play yard, or bassinet. Soft surfaces are extremely dangerous for babies. Sleeping on a couch, armchair, or sofa increases the likelihood of SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) 67-fold, and deaths on couches accounted for almost 13% of sleep-related infant deaths last year.
- Check that baby’s crib, play yard, or bassinet meets current federal safety standards and hasn’t been recalled. Check for recalls at CPSC.gov
- #BareIsBest. Remove soft objects like pillows, stuffed animals, crib bumper pads, and excess bedding from the sleep area. The only items in the crib should be a firm mattress and a fitted sheet.
- Do not use sitting devices such as car seats, strollers, and swings as a sleep area.
- Experts recommend parents share a room with baby, but never share a bed. Babies should always have their own sleep surface – a crib, play yard, or bassinet that meets current safety standards.
For a comprehensive overview on current recommendations, check out these safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Also check out some helpful infographics about safe sleep for dads here and here. Follow KID on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our email alerts, to stay up-to-date on the latest safety information.