***TRIGGER WARNING: This article is about SIDs and suffocation due to the risks of weighted blankets
Parents are being advised against using weighted blankets and sleep sacks for their babies and young children.
It’s winter and cold, so many mums and dads might believe these types of blankets might help their children get settled and sleep through the night as well as keep warm.
However, there have been a number of tragic deaths of little children due to these sleep aids.
Parents are being warned against using weighted blankets for their children
The warning comes from Red Nose Australia, a national charity working to save little lives and support families impacted by the death of a baby or child. The charity has issued a new urgent warning stating that weighted blankets and sleeping bags could cause suffocation.
This is because children might not be strong enough to move these heavier blankets.
“When you put a weighted blanket for an adult anywhere near a baby or a child, the risk of something really awful happening is significantly really high,” says Red Nose Australia chief executive Keren Ludski.
“That was incredibly alarming to think about a weight being put down on the chest of a baby that could in any way impede their ability to breathe.”
“They are marketed in clever ways to lead parents into believing they are a safe option for babies,” added Ludski. “They are not.”
The two recent deaths occurred overseas due to these weighted blankets, which typically weigh between 4kg and 9kg. One was a seven-month-old baby who was covered with a weighted blanket that was half his weight.
“These two deaths highlight what can happen if a baby or child cannot remove the blanket if they need to,” said Ludski.
In fact, these blankets could compress a little’s lungs, resulting in a lack of oxygen. They can also overheat a baby – which is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Sleeping recommendations from Red Nose:
- Unsafe settings for baby’s sleep-time include leaving baby unattended on an adult bed or bunk bed, placing a baby on a waterbed, beanbag, couch, pillow or cushion, or with a sleeping adult or child on a couch, sofa or chair.
- Keep baby’s cot away from hanging cords such as blinds, curtains, or electrical appliances as they could get caught around baby’s neck.
- Keep heaters or any electrical appliances well away from the cot to avoid the risk of overheating, burns and electrocution.
- Never use electric blankets, hot water bottles or wheat bags for babies.
- Sleep babies in a cot that meets Australian standards on a firm, flat surface that is not tilted.
- Ensure your baby is placed with their feet at the end of the cot, with any blanket tucked securely underneath the mattress, so it can only ride up as far as the baby’s chest and cannot cover their head.
- Do not add quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins, toys, or any other loose items, as these can significantly increase the risk to your baby.
GUIDELINES: What can you do to help reduce the risk of SIDS
1. Sleep your baby on their back
While it was popular to sleep your baby on its front in the 1980s, research shows that sleeping a baby on his or her back, not tummy or side, is the safest sleep practice.
2. Make sure nothing is covering your baby’s face
Remove all hats, pillows and toys from your baby’s cot or any loose clothing.
3. Avoid cigarette smoke near your baby
Avoid exposing your baby to tobacco or smoking after birth.
4. Make sure your baby has his own place to sleep
Sleep your baby in a safe place on their own for the first six to 12 months, but that’s in the same room as you for the first six months.
5. Ensure the cot and mattress are secure
Choose a cot that meets Australian Standard and ensure the mattress is firm, clean, flat and fits the cot correctly.
6. Make sure all blankets are firmly tucked in
Use a swaddle, baby sleeping bag or tuck in all blankets in the cot.
7. Position your baby at the bottom of the cot
It’s recommended by health care professionals that babies are placed at the bottom of the cot.
8. Breastfeed if you can
Experts believe breastfeeding helps lower the risks of SIDS.
Find Out what to eat when breastfeeding!
9. Make sure your pram is secure
Make sure there is no loose equipment or straps on the bouncer or pram.
10. Avoid covering the pram
A blanket or sheet can create an unsafe and hot environment for your baby, with little airflow.
11. Keep heaters and electrical appliances away from the cot
Avoid the risk of your baby overheating as well as being burned.
12. Do not leave your baby unattended
It’s unsafe to leave your baby sleeping unattended in a pram, rocker or bouncer.
13. Make sure your baby is awake during tummy time
Tummy time helps your little one strengthen his muscles, but make sure he is awake while doing this and supervised.
14. Dress your baby according to the weather
Make sure your baby is wearing the correct clothing that’s right for the weather.
More about SIDS
SIDS is a rare condition, and most deaths occur during the first three months of a baby’s life.
Make sure you read our article on why sharing a room, but not a bed, with your baby, can cut the risk of SIDS by 50 per cent.
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Breastfeeding, formula, dummies, cots, mastitis, baby health and development – there are so many things to know and understand.
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