When you start thinking about where your baby is going to sleep at night or decorating your child’s bedroom, you may find it useful to keep these safety tips in mind.
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Choose a good-quality mattress that feels firm and is at least 10cm deep. Make sure that the mattress fits the cot snugly, with no gaps at the sides. When your baby can pull himself up, put the mattress in its lowest position so that he can’t climb out. Don’t use a pillow or duvet in your baby’s cot. For safe sleeping, your baby needs a surface that is firm and flat, and a duvet may make your baby too hot.
There’s no evidence that cot bumpers prevent injuries. They may trap heat inside the cot and your toddler may climb on them or become tangled. Studies have shown that cot bumpers can also cause strangulation or suffocation. They are therefore not recommended. When the cot mattress is at its lowest height and the top rail is below your child’s chest, it’s time to move him to a bed.
Cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short. Check that the chains and cords on your blinds and curtains are well out of your child’s reach as dangling cords carry a risk of strangulation. Safety regulations for blinds changed in a few years ago. All blinds sold for children now cordless or have tensioned or concealed cords.
Ensure that any existing blind cords and chains are out of your baby or toddler’s reach by moving beds, cots and highchairs well away from windows. Even better, replace cords altogether in your baby’s bedroom. Secure wardrobes and bookshelves to walls to prevent them from falling over on your child. For the same reason, always remember to close drawers.
If you have a changing table, always stay with your baby when you use it. A safer option is to change your baby’s nappy on a changing mat on the floor, so that there is no danger of him falling. Keep nappy-changing equipment, such as nappy sacks, toiletries, and wipes well out of your baby’s reach. There have been cases of babies choking on nappy sacks or being suffocated by them.
Make sure pyjama feet aren’t too long or socks too slippery if your baby is pulling himself up or starting to walk. Use layers of bedding. This will make it easy for you to add and remove layers to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature. Or, you could use a baby sleeping bag. This will help prevent your baby from wriggling down underneath the covers.
Lastly, if you choose to add a fan, opt for a standing fan that can oscillate freely, but ensure that it is away from the immediate area of the baby’s crib and is pointed away from the baby. This will help avoid it from being knocked or toppled over and also reduce the chance of it harming your baby. By being pointed away at an angle, it will reduce the chance of infants getting a chill.