Many parents believe that a soft sleeping environment will make the babies feel comfortable and will protect them from injuries. The truth is that, when it comes to babies, soft is not at all safe, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Several studies have recently shown why soft mattresses are a danger for our babies: they increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the most terrible fear of every parent.
Statistics say that SIDS is still the leading cause of death among U.S. babies, taking almost 3,500 lives each year. That’s a sad and profoundly concerning number! I know we all want the best for our children; that’s why we should pay close attention to medical recommendations, indicating how to create the safest sleeping environment for them. So even if a fluffy mattress may give you the impression that your baby will sleep better on it, choose safe over soft – a firm mattress which will ensure the protection and well-being of your child, for the following reasons:
Lower SIDS risk
Soft bedding and stomach sleeping were considered the lethal combination for infants by a study published a few years ago by Pediatrics. The authors found that the risk of SIDS was 20 times higher in such a case compared to the endorsed back sleeping position on a firm crib mattress.
A firm mattress will present no risk of overheating, and thus your baby will sleep more soundly. Soft beds, on the other hand, pose a higher danger when it comes to controlling the overnight temperature.
Protection against smothering
Soft surfaces are a liability from several points of view, one of them being the risk of choking the child. The firm covers protect babies from smothering, especially if they are put to sleep on their back, at nap time and during the night. Recommendations are that even when they start rolling on their own, we still should put them on their back, but let them sleep in their chosen position.
Rolling over is a normal part of motor development for babies, in their first six months of life, so a breathable mattress should be very helpful for that moment when they start turning with their face down. A firm crib mattress will undoubtedly present this feature, as well as other safety standards.
Firmer mattresses are usually recommended for adults as well, so it’s only natural that they would be the correct choice for babies when it comes to offering the necessary support for the body. One other important detail to keep in mind when picking a firm mattress is that this item has to fit the crib perfectly.
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends only firm mattresses for our babies. Like many experts, the organization advises that nothing else should be in the baby’s crib than the firmly fitted sheet on the bed. Thus, no bedding, pads, blankets or toys are allowed, since all these items could cause strangulation, suffocation or increase the risk of SIDS. Another safety advice is to keep the crib in the same room you sleep, for at least six months (or, extensively, for the first year of your child’s life). Research suggests that by doing this, the risk of SIDS can decrease by almost 50%.