Wednesday 15 March 2017

Having Your Baby Sleep in a Box May Be a Good Idea

Is it better for your baby to sleep in a humble box instead of a cot?

Yes, you have read correctly – really, a box, just about big enough to fit your baby in.

In a recent news report on Channel 7 Perth, hospitals in the United States are using ‘baby boxes’ for babies to sleep in and some health officials claim that they are better than cots for preventing infant deaths.

The 'Baby Box' Debate

WOMEN Centre’s obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Fred Busch, shares his thoughts on the ‘baby box’ debate and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):

There is a significant correlation between babies' sleeping positions and the incidence of SIDS with the association being greater with babies sleeping in the prone and non-supine positions.

Therefore, it would make sense to restrict the chances of the baby to be able to roll on its side or tummy, which is what the 'baby box' probably does making it a good idea to have a baby sleeps in a box. 

In addition, it is understood that the 'baby box' has a firm mattress, which is another advantage as the other risk factor for SIDS is babies that sleep on soft mattresses or surfaces.

There are also additional factors that need to be emphasized including not cluttering the baby’s sleep space with soft toys and other items. 

Though Dr Busch has not personally reviewed the data, reduction in maternal smoking and the risks associated with prematurity may have contributed to the dramatic reduction in SIDS in Australia over the last decades.

The cost of the basic 'baby box' starts from below $100, which is a reasonably modest price and certainly cheaper than cots/bassinets.

How to Reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

While the 'baby box' is a reasonable idea, the focus should be on awareness of all the factors that may help to reduce the incidence of SIDS:

●  Encourage smoking mums to reduce/quit smoking
●  Sleep baby in supine position
●  Firm mattress
●  Avoid loose bedding accessories in baby's cot/bassinet/'box'
●  Avoid bed sharing with baby

There is also some evidence that the use of a pacifier during sleep reduces the risk and keeping baby's immunisations up to date may also lower the risk.

Channel 7 Perth’s news report on 'baby box' here.

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IMPORTANT: The information on this blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have concerning your health or your baby's or anything related to it. 

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