Guest post by Authors, Dr. Rachel Y. Moon, M.D. and Dr. Fern R. Hauck, M.D., M.S.
When you’re expecting, it’s easy to be charmed by the dozens of different suggestions for decorating the nursery. Magazines, catalogs, web sites and baby boutiques display what seems like every possible theme for bumpers, comforter covers, changing table pads and mobiles. Friends who quilt or crochet are probably asking for your color preferences as they get started selecting fabric and yarn.
What concerns us as physicians, however, is that so much of the bedding traditionally used in babies’ cradles and cribs has been shown to be unsafe. The fuzzy toy bears and bunnies that look so cute snuggled next to a sleeping baby can also be dangerous.
When a healthy baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly, it may be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or it may be a preventable cause such as suffocation, strangulation or entrapment: in other words, when an infant cannot breathe easily because a blanket or loose sheet has bunched up around the face or because the baby is stuck between two firm objects like a bumper and the crib mattress.
That’s why we recommend fitted crib sheets as the only bedding for babies. Nothing else should be in the crib with the baby! (A bare crib is the safest sleeping place for baby.)
Ideal gifts are sleep clothing such as blanket sleepers and stretchy sleepers in several sizes, a play mat for “tummy time” on the floor, a play yard or portable crib, stroller, or bassinet. New parents will probably also appreciate a selection of pacifiers, a baby tub, a box of newborn-size disposable diapers or a month’s subscription to a diaper service—and a selection of homemade dinner entrees, ready to be frozen and then defrosted as needed in those first few busy weeks.
Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., and Fern R. Hauck, M.D., M.S., are the authors of “14 Ways to Protect Your Baby from SIDS: Safe Sleep Advice from the Experts.” They combine research on SIDS with their medical practices in pediatrics and family medicine. Each is the parent of two. For more information or to purchase their guide as a downloadable PDF, visit parentingpress.com/media/sids.html.