Father’s Day is more than an opportunity to celebrate dads. It’s also a great time to remind all caregivers, including dads, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and others about keeping babies safe during sleep time. Fathers are equally responsible and as important as mothers, in providing a safe sleeping environment for their infants. Since the pandemic, more and more dads have been staying home and becoming increasingly involved in the day-to-day care of their children. Consequently, it is vital for both caregivers to know how to provide their baby with the safest sleeping environment possible.
Whether putting baby down for a nap after playtime or placing baby back in the crib after a nighttime feeding, dads play an essential role in making sure baby sleeps safely every time. One way to ensure safety is to follow the ABCs of safe sleep.
A stands for Alone – Infants should sleep alone—no bed-sharing. Infants should never be placed to sleep in bed with a parent, sibling, or other caregiver. Also, nothing should ever be in the crib with an infant, such as a pet or toys.
B stands for Back – Infants should always be placed on their backs for sleeping. They should never be positioned to sleep on their sides or stomachs. Placing a baby to sleep on their stomach doubles the risk of infant death!
C stands for Crib – Infants should always sleep in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable crib. The crib should be free of any soft objects, such as pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and/or bumper pads. The crib mattress or portable crib mat should be firm and only covered with a tight-fitting sheet.
When educating parents and caregivers about safe sleep, health care and community service providers should include dads in these conversations as well as share resources with them. These actions will help dads feel they are both included and prepared.
So, as you celebrate Father’s Day this year, always remember that fathers are real-life superheroes to their children. In society, they are viewed as the protector of the family. And as the protector, the safety and security of their children are essential.
For more information on safe sleep practices, visit these resources:
- Safe to Sleep® Campaign
- 3 Key Ways Dads Can Help Baby Sleep Safe
- Safe Sleep Recommendations (American Academy of Pediatricians)
Marcy Raska, senior training and technical assistance associate for the MIECHV Technical Assistance Resource Center and the Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, supports awardees on improving outcomes for children and families.