Know the ABCs of safe sleep for babies

Newborn baby in hospital bassinet

If you’re expecting a newborn (congratulations!) or have her in your arms (congratulations, again!), you’ve likely explored tips for keeping baby safe in her crib.

But go shopping for baby bedding, and you’ll get mixed information. Stores sell crib sets — complete with mattress covers, bed skirts, crib bumpers, and comforters — that conflict what you might have read.

And there’s a lot on the line: Every week in Ohio, three babies die before the age of 1, often due to unsafe sleep environments. That’s why Franklin County, Ohio hospitals and health organizations have banded together to get the safe sleep message out to new parents and their families.

What should you do? Doctors recommend you follow the ABCs of safe sleep.

A is for Alone

Babies are safest alone, in an empty crib. So if you got the crib set at the baby shower, the fitted mattress sheet is okay, but put the bumper and the comforter away. Toys, too.

B is for Back

Babies are safest on their back, not on their side or stomach. Newborns often do not have sufficient neck strength and head control to move if they can't breathe. This is most important because of spit-up. If baby spits up while sleeping on her stomach, the spit-up can clog her airway and block her breathing. Lying baby on her back keeps the airway above the esophagus, limiting the opportunity for choking.

C is for Crib

Babies are safest in their crib. Co-sleeping in Mom and Dad’s bed is not a good idea. Neither is leaving baby on a couch or chair, or having her sleep stomach-down on an adult. If she’s asleep, or if it’s naptime, move her to her crib.

After you’ve followed the ABCs and have baby sleeping safely, check out CelebrateOne, the Franklin County partnership that wants to help our babies have a happy and healthy first birthday. And be sure to share your #safesleep with us on Instagram!

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