As Sleep Consultants that offer in home visits, Caroline R, Rebecca and I get to see a lot of baby sleep spaces.
We bring with us a set of objective eyes with baby safety being our #1 priority. We like to view where the baby is going to sleep before we focus on settling them to sleep. We are looking for unsafe aspects of the sleep space that may be inadvertently dangerous.
Tired and overwhelmed parents find it hard to see obstacles to their child’s safety with clarity. Without blame or guilt, we suggest changes with a goal of baby safety foremost in our minds.
As much as we would like to, we can’t get to ALL the babies in Australia, so we would like you to do this task for yourselves.
Choose a trusted friend or family member and invite them over to your place for a cuppa. Ask them to go into your baby’s sleep space and get them to point out anything to you that may be a potential danger to your child. A fresh set of eyes that doesn’t see this room as much as you do everyday is much easier to identify something that may be overlooked by you.
My husband and I bought our first home together twenty five years ago. It was an old home that had a lovely feel and good strong bones. While mostly untouched and un-renovated from it’s original 1940s state, sadly the kitchen cupboards had been painted a ghastly khaki colour, ‘gastro green’ I like to call it. I couldn’t live with it and quickly went about getting a heat gun and stripping it off. I then got accepted into a Midwifery course and started full time study again. My plans of repainting the cupboard doors were soon sidelined. A few attempts by me were thwarted by my husband saying that he wouldn’t spend a cent on them as were going to renovate and pull them all out anyway. A few children later and still stripped cupboard doors. I only know this as I had a photo taken in my country kitchen with one of my children on my lap. There in the background were awful stripped cupboard doors. They had leapt off the photo at me and were so very obvious. I spent most of my waking hours in that room and had become so de-sensitised to my surroundings. My point being, just being familiar with an environment sometimes blinds us to things that are around us.
Some things that you may notice when you might be asked to this for a friend, or want to check out your own’ baby’s room are :
- The room itself – temperature, use of heaters, ventilation. In winter the room should not exceed 2c.
- What lotions and potions that are accessible to an infant. Have these inaccessible to your child. If your change table is right next to the cot, consider moving it further away so your child can’t reach through the cot and grab items on the change table.
- Cords that you may trip over, cords dangling from curtains and blinds.
- The cot itself – bumpers, mobiles or netting dangling over the cot. Remove bumpers and mobiles.
- Blankets, monitors, toys that are in the cot. It is suggested to have one fitted sheet and one small comfort toy in the cot. Nothing else. No blankets, lambswool mats, heat packs or sleep positioners. They all pose risks to your baby’s safety. Lambswools, heat packs and sleep positioners can contribute to overheating which is a SIDS risk.
- Cords that a child could grab through the cot ( from a monitor or electrical outlet). These are electrocution and strangulation risks.
- Do family pets have access to the child’s room?
- Is bedroom furniture bolted to walls to prevent toppling onto children?
The common ones that we see are bumpers. These are not recommended in cots. Even air weave bumpers pose a danger that they are choking risk to babies. We also see monitors placed inside cots as well as balancing or blue tacked onto the cot itself. These can easily fall into the cot or be grabbed by babies. They may reach the cords attached to the monitor, which again prove to be a strangulation risk to a child. Move the monitor to a place well away from the cot.
We need to support our fellow parents and be that village that is needed to help raise the child.
Be safe and sweet dreams to all.