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Keep your baby healthy and safe at every age and stage with simple at-home strategies, says Debra Smiley Holtzman, author of The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety (Sentient, 2005). “Try to start thinking about what you’re going to need at the next stage before you need it because it comes on so quickly,” she says. “You don’t have to have the baby gate up when your infant comes home, but you want to have everything handy so you’re ready for the next milestone.”
It's natural to want to be near your baby 24/7. But experts have differing opinions when it comes to sharing your bed with an infant. "We don't know how to make bed sharing safe," says pediatrician Rachel Moon, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS, which recommends not bed-sharing as a way to prevent SIDS.
According to First Candle, a national nonprofit organization, at least 50 percent of all sudden infant deaths could be prevented by placing babies to sleep in a safe environment.
BEDTIME BASICS FOR BABIES
Here are some important tips to protect your baby from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep:
• Always place your baby to sleep on her back!
• The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a sheet.
You no doubt know that placing your baby to sleep on her back dramatically reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But did you know that putting her on her belly when she's awake is also important?
Baby gear, in general, makes caring for children easier and safer, but "no product is a substitute for adequate caregiver attention," says Rick Locker, spokesman for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. Follow these tips to keep your baby safe:
The "Safe to Sleep" campaign led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in collaboration with other organizations has led to a 40 percent drop in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) rates since 1994. However, a not-so-pretty side effect is a 50-fold increase in the number of babies with flattened heads, or positional plagiocephaly.
While pacifiers can soothe fussy babies, the plastic gadgets also have been linked with lower rates of breastfeeding and higher risk for ear infection. But now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in, recommending pacifiers to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life.
Q: I'm confused about pacifiers. If my baby uses one, will she become addicted to it?