Hey guys. It’s Dr. Cardwell (the Mrs.). I have been hearing so much recently from my parents with newborns regarding Dock A Tot and the Owlet, that I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these and review safe sleeping practices for your newborn.
But let me first begin by telling you that I’m not judging you. I know you love and want the best for your baby. I also know how exhausting it is to take care of a newborn and you would do almost anything for just a little bit more sleep. I also know that you want to provide the safest environment for your baby. In short, safety trumps sleep.
My advice is based on the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A new study was just released in the May 2019 issue of Pediatrics entitled, “Infant Suffocation Deaths in the Sleep Environment Attributable to Soft Bedding, Overlay, and Wedging.” They reviewed the cases of 250 infants who died from an external airway obstruction in an unsafe sleep environment between 2011 through 2014. The study found the deaths might have been prevented with safe sleep practices. The most common characteristics were non-supine sleeping (not sleeping on the back) and sleeping in an adult bed.
Here are the safe sleep practices, as recommended by the AAP:
Back to sleep for every sleep.
Use a firm sleep surface.
Breastfeeding is recommended.
Room-sharing with the infant on a separate sleep surface is recommended.
Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the infant’s sleep area.
Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Media and manufacturers should follow safe sleep guidelines in their messaging and advertising.
Avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends:
Using a crib, bassinet, or play yard that has not been recalled.
Soft bedding such as pillows and thick comforters have been removed.
There are no loose or missing parts or slats in the crib, bassinet or play yard.
Place infants on the back to sleep.
Have a tight-fitting mattress.
All hardware is tightly secured.
Is Co-sleeping safe? No.
The AAP recommends that you share a bedroom with your baby, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1, but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Do we recommend Dock A Tot? No.
The Dock A Tot is marketed for us as an in-bed co-sleeper. They even recognize on their website that it is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Our office does follow the guidelines set forth by the AAP, so we cannot recommend use of the Dock A Tot.
Do Owlet and other vital sign monitors prevent SIDS? No.
The use of these monitors has not been shown to decrease the incidence of SIDS. They may give parents a false sense of security and also, they have not been tested or calibrated for accuracy.
Guys, I get it. Some of you may be reading this and think, “I co-slept with my first-born and she’s fine. We both slept wonderfully, and I loved that experience. It made breastfeeding so much easier!” Or your grandmother will tell you, “I put all four of my babies on their bellies to sleep and they slept all night!” I hear you, but, of course, not every newborn that co-sleeps will die from SIDS. However, SIDS is the leading cause of death in healthy infants from 1-12 months of age. So, stay committed and stay strong! Put your newborn in ONLY their crib, bassinet or play yard to sleep. Your baby’s safety is our top priority.