According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the U.S. from sleep-related incidents, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, which typically happens while a baby is sleeping. In 1992, The American Academy of Pediatrics introduced its recommendations regarding safe sleep practices and two years later, launched their “Back to Sleep” campaign, which encourages families to follow safe sleep practices. Since the campaign was launched, research has shown that the number of infant deaths related to SIDS has decreased dramatically.
Sleep is not only an important part of your child’s development, but for the first year of your baby’s life they will be sleeping quite a bit. Some babies will need more sleep at night and take short naps throughout the day, while others may sleep a bit less during the night and take substantial naps throughout the day. Though there is no specific plan that will fit the needs of every child, in general, children between the ages of 0-3 months should be sleeping from 15-18 hours per day and children between the ages of 3-12 months should be sleeping from 9-14 hours per day.
With October being SIDS Awareness Month, and Wellness being one of Educational Playcare’s Core Values, it is important to us that we share sleep safe practices.
- Always place babies on their backs to go to sleep, even if they are taking a short nap. If your baby had learned how to roll over, still put them on their back when you first put them to sleep.
- Be sure your baby’s crib has a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheets.
- Do not put your baby to sleep with blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, or soft toys.
- If your baby will be sleeping with you when they are first born, do not have them sleep in your bed. Instead, give them their own sleep space such as in a bassinet.
- If your baby falls asleep in a stroller, car seat, or bounce chair, be sure to put them in their crib, bassinet, or pack and play as soon as possible.
- If your family is comfortable using one, offer your baby a pacifier while they sleep at night or during naptime.
Some families worry about their baby spending so much times on their backs that the develop a flat spot on their head. Because of this, the AAP recommends that families still place their children on their backs to sleep, but encourages them to have their child participate in tummy time when they are awake. Tummy time offers many benefits including strengthening upper body muscles, providing practice to lift their heads, and leads to helping master basic skills such as rolling over and sitting up without assistance. Some babies do not enjoy tummy time at first, but with practice and fun activities, your baby will become stronger and more comfortable in this position.