When you’re preparing (and baby-proofing!) your nursery, many times parents worry about the “big” things, such as anchored furniture, outlets, and sharp edges. Often, though, I think that we miss the little things, such as window treatments, crib bumpers, soft blankets, and mobiles.
When you have a new baby, you want her to be as comfortable as possible, and many times parents forget that their baby doesn’t have good head control, which means that if she gets caught in a blanket, stuffed animal, or even her crib bumper, she can’t get out. As our children get older, they become more mobile, which makes things like crib bumpers and stuffed animals incredibly tempting to use as stairs to mount an escape from the crib. This is most certainly not what parents want!
While baby-proofing the big things is incredibly important, the little things need to be examined, too. This is where common sense comes in. As The Sleep Lady, I have spent nearly 20 years helping parents coach their children to sleep. Regardless of the circumstance, there remain two constants:
1. You need to find a sleep coaching method (like my Shuffle) that’s right for you and your baby.
2. The room where your baby sleeps must be conducive to sleep and safe.
This means that your baby’s nursery, your family bed, or even the living room needs to be free of distractions. This may not be necessary when you first bring your baby home, but as she gains awareness of the world around here, things like mobiles, wall hangings, and decorative bumpers become not only a danger, but a distraction.
I understand the need to protect your baby as well as the bars on the crib (I’ve known far too many children who liked to try and ‘chew’ their way out of bed to think that it’s a possibility that you can leave the crib railings bare for every child.). Unfortunately, crib bumpers simply aren’t safe. They have been known to fall down, and could smother your baby. This is why the Consumer Product Safety Commission has initiated a national review on fatal crib bumper incidents, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has publicly declared that traditional crib bumpers are a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment and should never be used.
Instead, if you need to protect the crib, consider an alternative such as Wonder Bumpers, which surround the bars on the crib and zip into place, making them virtually impossible for your baby to remove. Once you’ve got the rails protected, take a minute to examine other areas in the room for distractions, such as bright photos, wall hangings, or even bright lights. Make sure that you’ve really looked at the area your baby will be sleeping in and remove anything that is either dangerous (like curtain pulls) or distracting (like mobiles).
Once you have a safe and soothing environment, you’re ready to look at sleep coaching, and encouraging longer stretches of sleep using a method like The Shuffle.
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