Is it safe for your baby to sleep in their own room? 4 Important Tips.Sep 20, 2023
September is Baby Safety Month, and one of the questions I get asked often on my Instagram page from parents who are not sleeping well with their baby in their room, but who want to ensure their child is safe is “When and how can I move my baby into their room…SAFELY?” So, let’s talk about moving your baby into their own room: when to do it, how to do it, and my top 3 tips for adding a layer of security, while easing YOUR anxiety as a parent.
First, let’s start with WHEN to move your baby from room-sharing to their own room:
The recommendation for safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is to room-share with your baby for the first 6 months, but ideally 12 months. For some, this works well and helps keep the parent’s anxiety low because they like having their baby close by. But for some, having their baby right next to them to be able to hear every grunt and whimper creates an environment of poor sleep for everyone, and increased anxiety or depression. It’s important to note that this recommendation from the AAP is what we call a “protective” factor. This means that following it will help to decrease the risk of SIDS or other infant injuries or fatalities. Not following it does not increase the risk of such events, as long as other safety protocols are also being implemented.
This means that moving your baby sooner than 6 months will not increase risk (though it doesn’t decrease risk either) and is a personal choice to make. Once a child is over 6 months old (or even 12 months), parents still often have questions about how to move their child safely to their own space. So, if you’re deciding to move your child sooner than 6 months OR your child is over 6 months and you’re ready to make the room switch, keep reading for some important safety tips!
Next, let's talk about HOW to prep your baby's room for safety & make the shift from room-sharing:
Follow up-to-date crib & room safety guidelines
Ensuring the crib itself (or bassinet or pack n’ play) and the room itself are safe is priority #1. I have a past post on all updated 2022 safe sleep guidelines from the AAP in a past blog post. I recommend reading that for an in-depth look at all components of safe sleep. But in short, here are some top things to check:
- Ensure your sleep space is up-to-date
- Your child hasn’t outgrown the height or weight requirements
- The mattress isn’t expired and is firm enough for an infant
- The sleeping space is empty with nothing but a fitted sheet and mattress (sleep sack for warmth)
- There’s nothing over or around the sleep space that could fall in or be wrapped around your child (curtain string, bumpers, blankets, heavy decor, etc.)
Practice & Talk It Through
Even though babies are *just* babies, I still believe in preparing them for a change verbally and allowing a grace period for adjusting to things. I recommend telling your baby that soon they are going to move into their own special room to sleep so everyone can get their best rest possible! I believe in starting slowly to create positive associations in the room before making the final move. This could mean doing the bedtime routine in the room, starting with just naps, contact napping in the room, and using any other moments to create comfort and happy memories in the space before moving them there for overnight sleep! Once you decide to make the move, it’s best to commit and stick to it so that there isn’t ongoing confusion going back and forth. I recommend taking your time to get to a place you feel comfortable before making this move.
Use a reliable baby monitor (video is preferable!)
If your child is sleeping alone in their room, it’s essential to have a reliable monitor. Of course, a classic sound monitor is okay, but if it’s possible for your family, investing in a video monitor is hugely beneficial. There are many safety situations where being able to see your infant can save a life, whereas hearing alone wouldn’t.
My GOAT (greatest of all time) monitor that I recommend and use myself is the Nanit Pro Camera. It has an app that links to your phone, a night vision camera, and tracks your baby’s movement & breathing with a sensor-free wearable band. I still use Nanit for my 4 & 6-year-old, and I love that it has a split screen so I can see them both at the same time. Whenever I share stories on Instagram with screenshots of my Nanit sleep tracking app (or people who tag me in their stories) people ALWAYS send me messages asking what it is and then send me “thank you’s” for telling them about it once they’ve been using it for a while.
If you’re interested in learning more about sleep safety for Baby Safety Month, I’m co-hosting a FREE event on September 27th called Steps to Sleep Success: Baby Sleep + Routines with Dr. Natalie Barnett of Nanit Lab. It’s free to register once you sign up to become a member of the Nanit community (this is also free to do, no purchase necessary, and you don’t need to own a Nanit product!). It’s part of a larger webinar series called Parent Like A Pro, and I highly recommend checking out all of their other free expert talks in this series! --> REGISTER HERE
Close your child’s door at night
I get asked by parents often whether to close the door to their child’s room at night because they feel like it’s “mean” or for some reason, they feel guilty doing so. PLEASE close your child’s door at night - it could be the difference between life or death in the event of a fire. I encourage you to Google images of a room where the door was kept closed in a fire compared to the rest of the home. It will convince you of the importance of always keeping that door shut, especially once you go to sleep for the night.
This is a sponsored post by Nanit. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view and personal use of the Nanit products long before this partnership. I am not receiving affiliate contributions for any purchases made of their product or registrations to this free event.
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