Myths about child sleep and SIDS, debunked by an professional


Dr. Harvey Karp, writer of “The Happiest Child on the Block,” will likely be taking your child and parenthood questions on the CNN Parenting Fb web page stay at 11 a.m. ET Monday, October 30.

On the subject of child sleep, unhealthy recommendation could be harmful. October is Secure Sleep Consciousness month, a possibility to study extra about sudden sudden toddler loss of life and debunk the myths about what’s sabotaging your sleep and spotlight habits that doubtlessly threat your child’s security.

Fable 1: Your child sleeps greatest in a silent room.

Not true. In actual fact, complete silence could make it laborious in your child to fall asleep. Keep in mind, the womb is noisy: louder than a vacuum cleaner and working 24 hours a day. For 9 months, your infant’s been lulled to sleep by the rhythmic whooshing of the blood flowing by way of the placenta. To her, the quiet of the common house is jarring. Plus, in a silent room, she’s extra more likely to get up when a loud truck on the road or another bump within the evening breaks that silence. The reality is, your child will sleep greatest for those who play loud, rumbly white noise throughout all naps and nights.

Fable 2: It’s best to by no means wake a sleeping child.

Nope. It’s best to at all times wake your sleeping child utilizing a little bit method known as “wake and sleep.” It gently teaches your little one the vital ability of self-soothing. This is briefly the way it works: Beginning as early as the primary day of life, wake him up the tiniest bit after sliding him into mattress. Simply tickle his neck or toes till his eyes drowsily open. Very quickly after, he’ll drift proper again into slumberland. In these few semi-awake seconds, he is simply soothed himself again to sleep — step one towards sleeping by way of the evening.

Fable three: Some infants sleep worse when swaddled as a result of they wish to be free.

Not likely. Your child could fuss and resist swaddling at first, so it might appear like she hates it. However infants do not want freedom, they want the sensation of safety that they had within the womb. With out wrapping, your toddler will flail her arms, whack herself within the face and startle simply all through the evening. That is a recipe for poor sleep.

Swaddling is step one to calming, and it is vital you do not cease there, particularly in case your toddler’s been preventing it. To badist her settle, you may wish to layer in different womb-mimicking steps: “shushing,” facet/abdomen place, swinging and sucking, which, together with swaddling, make up the 5 S’s of establishing a child for sleep success. And as soon as the S’s turn into a part of your sleep routine, she’ll hand over her battle! (Word: Aspect/abdomen place is for calming solely, by no means for sleep.)

Fable Four: We must always educate infants to sleep in their very own rooms.

Babies may sleep longer in their own rooms, study says

Having our infants develop as much as be impartial takes a very long time. There isn’t any must rush it. In actual fact, having your new little one sleep in one other room is inconvenient (for feedings and diaper modifications) and probably harmful. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep within the mother or father’s room for at the least six months (at all times on their again, in their very own mattress). The easy apply has proven to considerably cut back the speed of sudden toddler loss of life syndrome.

Fable 5: Swaddling needs to be stopped after two months.

Swaddling reduces crying and will increase sleep. However new badysis reveals that swaddled infants who roll to the abdomen have double the danger of SIDS in contrast with an unswaddled child rolling over. In consequence, the pediatrics academy is now recommending that oldsters cease baby-wrapping at 2 months. On the face of it, the group’s new recommendation appears to make sense, however it fully ignores the dangers of not swaddling.

In an eight-year evaluation of information collected by the Shopper Product Security Fee, solely 22 sudden unexplained toddler deaths badociated to swaddling have been reported; nearly 50% have been in sleep sacks (a wearable blanket), and 90% have been discovered on the abdomen and/or with cumbersome bedding. (Word: Fatalities categorized as sudden unexplained toddler loss of life embody sleep deaths from unintentional suffocation, strangulation and SIDS.)
Swaddling and SIDS: About that alarming study ...

Throughout these eight years, tons of of 1000’s — if not hundreds of thousands — of infants have been swaddled. Since sudden unexplained toddler loss of life strikes one in 1,200 infants, one would have anticipated tons of or maybe 1000’s of swaddle-related deaths over this era if wrapping prompted these deaths. Of observe, throughout the identical eight years, 1,026 deaths badociated to couch sleeping have been reported to the protection fee.

The purpose is, although swaddling could introduce a theoretical threat, there’s not a number of proof it’s inflicting a real enhance in sudden unexplained toddler loss of life. Alternatively, swaddling has been proven to scale back toddler crying and increase sleep. That’s of crucial significance as a result of the stress provoked by persistent fussing and parental exhaustion is a potent set off for postpartum despair, little one abuse, automobile accidents and even dangerous sleeping practices, that are related to as much as 70% of all toddler sleep fatalities.

We do not need infants rolling over swaddled, however we additionally don’t desire them rolling over unswaddled in the course of the 2- to Four-month-old peak interval for SIDS. An unswaddled child can roll to an unsafe place extra simply than one whose motion is restricted by comfortable swaddling. And, since swaddling improves sleep, unwrapped infants wake extra usually and usually tend to tempt their drained mother and father to go to sleep with them of their beds.

To resolve this difficult drawback, I badembled a crew of MIT-trained engineers and famend industrial designer Yves Behar to invent a sort of swaddle that retains sleeping infants safely on the again. In October 2016, my firm Happiest Child debuted Snoo, the world’s first responsive bbadinet that employs this particular swaddle, which clips to the bottom of the mattress to forestall rolling. This innovation permits mother and father to reap the substantial advantages of swaddling for a full six months with none of the dangers.

Fable 6: Placing infants to sleep on the again has solved SIDS.

The Nationwide Institute of Well being-led Again to Sleep marketing campaign shortly lowered sleep deaths from 5,500 in 1994 to three,500 in 1999. Nonetheless, for the previous 17 years, progress has fully stalled. The tragic reality is that three,500 infants die throughout their sleep every and ever 12 months. Though extra infants are sleeping on the again, the speed of unintentional suffocation and strangulation toddler deaths has quadrupled because the mid-1990s. What’s behind this alarming development? Unsafe sleeping practices. Seventy p.c of all sudden unexplained toddler loss of life victims are present in grownup beds, sofas and different dangerous places.
A latest research revealed that whereas most mother and father absolutely plan to observe the ABCs of secure sleep (Alone, on the Again, in a Crib), lower than half truly do it. And by the top of the evening, about 60% of infants have migrated from their bbadinet to their mother and father’ mattress, in line with a research within the Journal of Scientific Lactation.
The next great medical innovations that could save children

The horrible, unintended consequence of the Again to Sleep marketing campaign is that it has worsened toddler sleep. Infants simply do not sleep effectively on their backs in nonetheless, quiet cribs. And as mentioned in fantasy 5, when infants do not sleep effectively, mother and father resort to bed-sharing, which results in many extra toddler suffocation deaths.

It is extremely vital that oldsters proceed to position their infants to sleep on the again, however in addition they want to begin utilizing extra instruments to enhance their kid’s sleep. The excellent news is that there are three efficient methods to spice up slumber for back-sleeping infants: sound, swaddling and rocking.

Rumbly white noise is cheap and really efficient for bettering a child’s sleep. Cosy swaddling is just too, however as defined above, pediatricians now suggest that oldsters cease wrapping at 2 months outdated. Movement, or swinging, can also be nice, however the American Academy of Pediatrics has discovered that sleeping in sitting units, similar to rockers and swings, could permit a child’s head to roll ahead and trigger unintentional suffocation and loss of life.

US infant mortality rates down 15%

These are points we sought to deal with with the Snoo mattress. It permits for secure swinging (it’s completely flat), secure swaddling (the child cannot roll over) and secure sound, because the sound will increase when a child cries however then instantly softens — after the child calms — for all-night sleep promotion. We designed it to ship the fitting degree of womb-like stimulation that’s proper for any explicit child to calm his or her fussing and increase sleep.

For almost 20 years, regardless of huge public well being instructional packages, now we have failed to scale back toddler sleep loss of life. However, by specializing in sleep efficacy (boosting a child’s sleep), we now have a really thrilling means to forestall many — if not most — of those deaths. And as a well being bonus, bettering sleep efficacy may permit us to scale back different critical and unsolved well being issues triggered by exhaustion and crying, similar to postpartum despair (with a couple of half million circumstances identified a 12 months) and shaken-baby syndrome (1,300 incidents a 12 months).

Please be part of me in October — and all 12 months lengthy — by telling new mother and father about exhaustion’s position in sudden unexplained toddler loss of life and by sharing the sleep-boosting suggestions talked about right here. I’m badured that we’ll dramatically enhance the well being of American mother and father and infants as we put extra power and emphasis on serving to mother and father promote higher toddler sleep.

Dr. Harvey Karp is the writer of “The Happiest Child on the Block” and founder and CEO of, the maker of revolutionary instruments to badist infants sleep.

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