Infant Bed – Inviting a new baby into the home is a process full of emotion, expectation and anticipation. For any expecting parent, shopping for the nursery is a big job that includes choosing an infant bed. Also referred to as a cradle, crib or bassinet, an infant’s bed is a small bed to hold babies until they become toddlers. Western countries use this bed for infants in lieu of co-sleeping in an adult bed. The design of the bed is aimed to restrict the baby in that place only. The sides are typically high. Many countries have their own technical standards for infant beds.

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Infant Bed
Types Of Baby Cribs

There are a number of different choices when looking for an infant bed. Cribs can be reused if they are in sound condition for another child, but refrain from buying a used baby crib.

Standard baby cribs

This type of bed is usually simple in construction but sturdy. It is designed to last, but it does not come with any other features.

Portable baby crib

This is a convenient type of infant bed as it can be folded and moved to another location as needed. Many portable cribs have casters or wheels making them easy to move. Ensure that these have working brakes for safety.

Convertible baby crib

Another option on the market today is the convertible crib which is also referred to as a lifetime crib. It is designed to grow with a child. Usually, this type of bed transforms from a standard crib to a toddler bed and eventually a twin-size bed.

Multipurpose baby crib

Some parents prefer to invest in a multipurpose crib since it does double duty. Among the popular designs for this type of crib is the one that comes with a changing table, so a little one’s diapers can be changed nearby.

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Sleep Mistakes To Avoid
Sleep Mistakes To Avoid

Sleep is an important part of a baby’s routine along with feeding and hygiene. A newborn usually spends more hours sleeping than awake. As weeks turn to months, infants develop their own sleep patterns which can leave parents deprived of much-needed sleep. Once a baby develops a circadian rhythm, life for both parents and the child will get easier.

There are many ways to put an infant to sleep, but there are some common mistakes that new parents sometimes make.

Here are a few to avoid:

Never sleep on the couch with a baby

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP, co-sleeping in an armchair or on a couch is a mistake. This is more dangerous compared to bed sharing with a baby since there is an increased risk of smothering or dropping the baby during sleep. Breastfeeding mothers may be especially tempted to nod off in the middle of the night or early morning hours. Resist the urge, and head to the bed to avoid any situation that might suffocate the baby. If you do choose the method of safe co-sleeping, learn the proper steps and precautions.

Avoid crib bumpers

Parents want to protect their little ones from harm as much as possible including while sleeping. In the past, crib bumpers were placed in cribs to help protect babies from poking their hands and feet out of the crib slats as they slept. However, researchers found that the use of bumpers increased the risk of infant death. Using data reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one study found that 23 babies died over a period of seven years between 2006 and 2012 from suffocation attributed to crib bumpers. That is three times higher than the average number of deaths in the three previous seven-year time spans. In total, 48 babies’ deaths were attributed to crib bumpers between 1985 and 2012. An additional 146 infants sustained injuries from the bumpers, including choking on the bumper ties or nearly suffocating [1].  The best way to reduce the risk of strangulation or suffocation is to provide a sleep surface free of crib bumpers, pillows, sleep positioners and stuffed animals, especially during infancy.

Relying on technology for monitoring the baby while sleeping

There is no doubt that baby monitors come in handy, but they do not replace safe sleep guidelines. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) advises that there is not enough evidence to demonstrate that these monitoring gadgets prevent or lower the risk of SIDS. Sensors can go off unexpectedly, and they also create a false sense of security [2].

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Reducing The Risk Of SIDS
Reducing The Risk Of SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a term referring to the cause of death when a healthy baby passes for no reason. Mortality rates for SIDS have decreased by around 70% over the last 30 years. Although the cause of SIDS is still unknown, physical factors and sleep environment factors may contribute. Researchers have not yet determined the cause for SIDS or its prevention, but there are some recommendations from pediatricians on prevention.

  • Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep. Their sleeping positions may change as they learn to roll over.
  • Do not overheat babies with too many layers of clothing before bed.
  • Offer a pacifier without a strap or string,
  • Do not lie babies on a soft surface. This increases the risk of suffocation.

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Is Bed Sharing Safe
Is Bed Sharing Safe?

Room sharing with a baby is much safer than bed-sharing since the latter increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related dangers. Putting an infant in bed with the parents during the first four months can be particularly dangerous since parents may roll onto the child, or the bedding can cover the child’s face leading to suffocation. Risk factors also increase as new parents are understandably sleep deprived and may forget that the infant is in the bed.

Room sharing (co-sleeping) is placing the bassinet or crib in the parent’s bedroom keeping the infant sleeping close. This is the safest place for a little one during the first few months to protect them from harm.

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Tips On How To Create A Safe Sleep Environment
Tips On How To Create A Safe Sleep Environment

Putting an infant to sleep safely is a huge concern since babies have no control of their limbs. Here are a few tips on how to create a safe environment for a little one.

  • Purchase an infant bed that meets all regulatory guidelines.
  • Never let an infant sleep on waterbeds, pillows, waterbeds, an air mattress or soft mattress due to the increased chance of suffocation.
  • Choose the right bedding. The best crib bedding is one that fits snugly on the mattress.
  • Keep the bed empty of stuffed animals.
  • Never use infant carriers or car seats as a place of sleep.

For new parents, a new addition to the family requires a good amount of preparation. Part of that starts with ensuring a safe sleep environment. The tips mentioned here can be used to help decide the type of crib to buy and how to put a little one to sleep safely.

Pediatrics is the study of children, their diseases, illnesses and overall well-being. Just like any other branch of science, pediatrics is continuously evolving to ensure the safety of children. Pregnant mothers and their partners should consider taking a class at a local children’s hospital to keep abreast of the latest developments.

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Infant Bed Resources:

[1]   United States Consumer Product Safety Commission; CPSC Safety Alert Relates Soft Bedding Products And Sleep Position To Infant Suffocation Deaths, January 06, 1994.
[2]   American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations to Protect Against SIDS, Sleep-Related Infant Deaths, October 24, 2016.

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