Warm weather has arrived, and with it the question of what to do with a baby that sleeps best swaddled. The answer: dress for the season!
Babies that are too warm when swaddled have hot ears and sweaty necks. Did you know that overheating is one of the risk factors for SIDS (Sudden infant Death Syndrome)? If your baby is too toasty this summer, you may need to change your routine and go shopping.
Try using a thin muslin wrap and just a diaper, and keep a fan or air conditioner going. If that still isn’t enough, then you have to consider no wrap at all. A loose wrap, especially a loose wrap that partially covers the face, is not a safe choice. Use all the other strategies that help babies sleep, including white noise and pacifiers. After you make changes, don’t forget to re-check your baby’s ears and neck to make sure that your strategies worked.
Pleasant (and cooler) dreams tonight!
The infant recliner called the “Nap Nanny” had already been recalled, but another death was reported in NJ this weekend. The story involves an 8-month old child who was belted in and trapped between the nap nanny recliner and a crib bumper, as per reports in USA Today and other news media.
Infant recliners are popular and plentiful, but they are not foolproof. Sleepless parents will continue to buy these infant seats and use them in ways that are unsafe due to frustration and lack of awareness. No device is sold with bold warnings about the number of children that die in seats and carriers each year. No parent thinks it will be their child. Until it is.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has clear but poorly publicized warnings about avoiding keeping babies in infant carriers and seats for any extended periods of time. Families need sympathy for the stress they are experiencing, realistic expectations about baby sleep patterns, and specific instruction to avoid placing their babies at risk.
There is a two-part solution: position your a baby in a swaddle or in a sleep sack and nothing else in the crib. Learn to quickly soothe and calm your baby. As a Happiest Baby on the Block educator and pediatric occupational therapist, I teach the Happiest Baby protocol, which includes SIDS prevention and support for parents. Direct instruction with the opportunity to ask questions and practice techniques with an instructor can be invaluable.
Babies older than 4 months benefit from Dr. Harvey Karp’s suggestions for older children in “The Happiest Baby on the Block Guide to Great Sleep”.
The pain this family must be experiencing is unimaginable. My heart goes out to them tonight.