Understanding Influences of Unsafe Sleep
In order to understand how to educate a client, we must first understand their current situation, barriers, worries, concerns, etc. regarding safe sleep practices.
All babies are different. Some babies are easy to soothe, some are difficult, some sleep well, some only sleep in spurts, and others are colicky or have reflux. Physiology and baby's temperament can have a big impact on if parents follow the safe sleep recommendations.
Parents’ need for sleep
Exhaustion may be intensified by: parents returning to work, newborn feeding frequency, baby's crying, and possibly limited support. When parents are in desperate need of sleep, it can be very challenging to follow the safe sleep guidelines.
This takes into account all of the many family and cultural traditions around sleep and taking care of babies, and there are a lot of them. People may say "This is how we do it, this is how we have always done it" or "All our babies sleep that way – and they turned out fine." Also, it is very difficult to have a conversation surrounding safe sleep with loved ones because it could seem offensive.
Many parents feel that they need to be physically close to their baby to have a connection with them. They may feel that they are ignoring, mistreating, or even somehow damaging or not bonding with their baby if he is not right next to them, including during sleep. Some parents feel strongly that they don't want baby to be "alone.“
Parents are constantly bombarded with images of unsafe sleep from ads, movies, TV shows, in stores, and even Instagram posts on what their favorite singer's baby's nursery looks like. All of these can be very influential to parents.
People's past experiences can affect how they parent. For example, a parent may not feel comfortable having her baby sleep away from her. She may bring baby into her bed instead of following the safe sleep guidelines.
Ability to process risk/understand information
The ability of a parent to process risks may be impacted by a number of reasons including difficulty understanding information shared due to language barriers, developmental delays and substances impacting judgement.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health include all of the social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to the overall health of individuals and communities. Social factors include racial and ethnic discrimination, political influence, and social connectedness.
Families may experience environmental barriers that make having a safe sleep environment difficult (such as, lack of crib or pack 'n play, small living quarters, heating/cooling issues in their home).
Some content provided with approval from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
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There are 10 unsafe items in the following picture.
Click on all 10 to make the crib safe...
Stuffed animals can be dangerous, a baby could roll over onto the stuffed animal covering their face and cause suffocation or a baby could become entangled in the object and cause strangulation, all stuffed animals should be removed from the sleep space. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Back is best! Babies who sleep on their backs breathe easier and are less likely to suffocate or choke. Place your baby on their back to sleep for the first year of life.
Blankets are dangerous, a baby could cover their face or roll over onto blanket causing suffocation or strangulation. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet. Consider using a "sleep sack" instead of blankets to keep your baby warm. Remember to dress the baby not the bed.
Bumper pads are dangerous due to suffocation, baby may position themselves against the pads and be unable to move or become trapped between the mattress and bumper pads. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Space heaters are dangerous due to fire hazard; they can also make the room too warm. The ideal room temperature for babies to sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees. Do not place crib/portable near any heating source such as a space heater, a fireplace, or a heat vent.
Loose curtains and cords from window blinds are dangerous and create a risk for strangulation. Do not place crib/portable crib nearwindows, blinds, or loose curtains.
Babies are curious and could easily grab and ingest the pills next to the crib. All medications should be place out of sight and out of reach of all children. Do not place pills or medications near a crib/portable crib due to poisoning and/or choking hazards.
Pillows can be dangerous due to suffocation, a baby could turn or roll over and their face could be covered by the pillow causing suffocation. A pillow should never be used for a baby as a positioner and should never be in a crib. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet. To decrease risk of baby developing plagiocephaly, or "flat head," practice supervised tummy time while baby is awake.
Bottles, especially when filled, are dangerous due to choking, suffocation and asphyxiation. Babies should always be supervised during feedings. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Outlets are dangerous due to fire hazard and electrocution. Do not place crib/portable crib near outlets to prevent an older infant from playing with or putting something into the outlet.
The crib is now safe.
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