As temperatures drop, it’s important to know how to dress a baby comfortably yet safely for sleep.
Fabric and fit are important safety considerations for your baby’s sleepwear. For infants to children’s size 14, Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations dictate that sleepwear must either be made of flame-resistant fabric, or fit snugly. Flame-resistant fabric must not ignite easily and must self-extinguish quickly when removed from a flame to meet government flammability requirements. Sleepwear that fits snugly does not trap the air needed for fabric to burn and reduces the chances of contact with a flame. Flame-resistant fabrics may be worn either loose or snug-fitting; they’re often made of polyester, but cotton can be treated so that it’s flame resistant.
When dressing baby for cooler temps, keep these ground rules in mind:
› Don’t put them in socks, hats, or gloves when unsupervised. Socks, hats, or gloves can be removed by the child or fall off in bedding and then socks or gloves can be put into their mouths creating a choking hazard, where as hats can slide over the face causing a suffocation hazard.
› Don’t buy sleepwear that’s not flame-resistant (look for a label on the garment indicating flame-resistance).
› Don’t allow your baby to sleep in loose T-shirts, sweatshirts, or other loose apparel, as loose garments can ride-up or get tangled. Buying snug-fitting sleepwear a size or two larger so your baby has growing room defeats the purpose of the garment and puts your baby at risk. Snug-fitting sleepwear looks tight, but it stretches. It must have a prominent warning on the label that states: Wear snug-fitting and flame-resistant.
The only loose garment exception should be sleep sacks/sleep blankets that are fitted in the chest to prevent the garment from riding up but loose elsewhere (see photo on left by Merino Kids, merinokids.com).
› For infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a wearable blanket, or sleep sack, to replace loose blankets in your baby’s crib. They’re typically made of flame-resistant fabric, but check the garment’s label to be sure.
› Don’t dress your baby too warmly. Overheating may be a contributor to SIDS. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult (between 68 and 72ºF). Your baby shouldn’t feel sweaty or hot when touched.
› Remove all soft, fluffy, or loose bedding, and other items from your baby’s crib, including decorative and sleeping pillows and stuffed animals. For young infants even bumpers can cause suffocation and as such there are now companies which make breathable mesh bumpers for this very reason.
› If you even think your baby is strong enough to work their way out of swaddling then do not swaddle as this becomes no different than placing a loose blanket in their bed.
› Don’t use an electric blanket, heating pad, or even a warm water bottle to heat your baby’s crib. An infant’s skin is highly heat-sensitive and can be burned by temperatures easily tolerated by an adult.
› Don’t let your baby share your bed. In addition to the risk that you might roll onto your baby, adult beds pose other hazards. Your baby could get trapped between the bed and a wall, headboard, bed frame, or other object. Accidental suffocation in soft bedding is another danger, or the baby could fall off the bed.
Even co-sleepers, which are designed to prevent you from crushing your child, are of no help in a situation where you the sleeping parent inadvertently move your covers while sleeping, thereby suffocating your child.
› If you breast-feed your baby in bed, be sure to return her to the crib afterward.
› Do not let your baby sleep in a car seat, infant carrier or other such device. These products are intended for babies that are awake and being supervised. If your baby falls asleep, move him to a firm, flat surface as soon as you can. This is particularly important for younger babies whose heads may turn sideways or fall forward and keep them from getting enough oxygen.
Learn more about baby and child product safety through the Safety Alert program with Consumer Reports and partners. And learn more about baby clothing and crib buying, and safety advice in their related reports (crib Ratings are available to subscribers).#
Courtesy of Consumer Reports. Visit them online at www.consumerreports.org.