Banner Health Services  

Safe sleep positions for babies

Dr. McQueen  

Dr. Michael McQueen is a neonatologist on staff at Banner Estrella, Banner Del E. Webb and Banner Thunderbird medical centers. His office can be reached by calling  602-476-8962. 

Question:  I often use the Internet to get a lot of really good information and tips for caring for my baby, but I have been noticing that there are some discrepancies in this information, particularly about sleep positions for infants. What is the best way for me to help my child get a good and safe night’s sleep?

Answer: This is an excellent observation and question. First of all, while the Internet is a source of abundant information, it can often be confusing.  If you have specific questions or want to know the best resources for parenting information on the Internet ask your pediatrician or family doctor.  A recent study found that fewer than half of websites had accurate information concerning facts about infant sleep, according to an article that appeared in MedPage Today, a reputable source for health reporting. 

One of the best resources is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website dedicated to information for parents www.HealthyChildren.org.  Also, Banner Health has a wealth of health information on our website www.BannerHealth.com  keyword: Kids Health. You can find access to this and other health libraries right on our home page under the “Health Info” tab.

So to your question about a good and safe night’s sleep for your infant. The AAP recommends “Back to Sleep” for infants. What this means is that your child should be placed on her back to sleep, not her side or stomach.  The organization notes by placing your baby on her back, you will decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This position is recommended for the first year of life.

The AAP adds the following:

  • Avoid placing the baby on soft porous surfaces such as pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins or bean bags. 
  • Do not place your baby on waterbeds, sofas or soft mattresses.
  • Use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Keep all soft toys and stuffed animals out of the crib throughout infancy.
  • Keep the temperature in the baby’s room comfortable and do not place her crib where there could be drafts from windows, heating vents or air conditioning.
  • Use sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, as an alternative to blankets.

While back to sleep is very important for your child’s sleep and naptime, when she is up and being observed, do give her opportunity to be on her stomach so she can work to develop her shoulder muscles and head control. This will also help avoid the development of flat spots on her head, the AAP suggests.

And again, while combing the Internet for information and support, be sure you are sharing the information you find with your pediatrician to ensure it’s reputable and appropriate for your baby.

Page Last Modified: 03/26/2013
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