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Safe Sleep Checklist

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Article by:

Cara Dumaplin

RN, BSN, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

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baby standing in crib for safe sleep

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Having a great little sleeper is wonderful, but at Taking Cara Babies, we also want you to have a safe sleeper. Please use this checklist for babies 0-12 months as a quick reference and reminder for safe sleep. Make sure the baby products you are using are safe too.

Please know: I’ve updated this checklist according to the most up-to-date safe sleep recommendation (2022) from the American Academy of Pediatrics (I LOVE Table 3!)(1)

baby standing in crib for safe sleep

Sleep surface is...anchor

  • Firm (No need for mattress cushions or pillow tops)

  • Flat (Even for reflux babies or babies with upper respiratory infections, an elevated position is not safe for sleep.)

  • Labeled as a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard (No loungers, sleepers, nappers, or surfaces by any other name are approved.)

  • Clear of weighted products of any kind, any loose bedding, blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows

  • Free of any positional devices (No Boppy, DockATot, SnuggleMe, Organic, etc. Transitioning out of these devices is best for safe sleep.)

  • More than an arm’s length away from windows, furniture, and cords

  • His/her own space (Not bed-sharing with parents or siblings)

Crib has...anchor

  • No gaps around the edges of the mattress

  • No bumpers

  • Snuggly fitted sheets on the mattress

  • Slats no more than 2 ⅜ inch apart

  • No drop-down sides

  • Crib mattress at the appropriate height setting (When baby begins to sit independently, crib rail should be at mid-chest or higher on baby in the standing position.)

When using bassinets...anchor

  • Only use with the mattress sold specifically with it (applies to play yards too)

  • Transition when baby outgrows it (Weight/length limits OR when baby can sit, climb, or roll out)

Swaddling should be...anchor

  • Snug around the chest, but still allow for your hand to slide inside

  • Loose around the hips

  • Secure (Swaddles that velcro or zip can help to ensure that babies are secure.)

  • Discontinued when baby show signs of attempting to roll (usually occurs at 3-4 months)(1)

  • Only in non-weighted swaddles

Baby should also be...anchor

Considerations for sleep outside of the crib:anchor

  • If baby is being held or snuggled for sleep, caregiver must remain awake.

  • If baby falls asleep in a car seat, swing, carrier, or stroller, baby is moved to flat, firm sleep surface as soon as safe and practical (as specifically recommended by the AAP(2)).

  • Car seat sleep is safe when car seat is in the car, car seat is installed/used properly, and baby is buckled as directed. - Baby must NOT be swaddled in car seat. - No positioners, padding, toys, etc. in car seat other than what was sold with that particular car seat.

  • If baby is in a car seat outside of the car, these must all apply: - Baby must remain properly buckled. - Baby’s face should be entirely visible to a watching caretaker at all times. - Car seat should be placed in the big portion of shopping cart or in an approved adapter for a stroller. - Remove baby from car seat once you arrive home or to your destination.

Click here to get a printable version of this checklist. *Disclaimer: Please always follow the advice of your doctor and stay up to date with all the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics1 or the safe sleep guidelines for where you live.

Are you ready to have a great little sleeper?

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