It's hard enough to keep up with all the new baby products that hit the market each year, not to mention all the research you have to do to feel good about using them. And, since many moms would be willing to fork over a hefty sum for some shut eye, it's no surprise that so many items on baby store shelves promise ways to create the best sleep for both babies and parents. From old school sound machines to the recent trend of sleep suits, there are a ton of options. But before you swipe that plastic for the latest in baby sleep products, you'll want to know are sleep suits, sleep sacks, and sleep swaddles safe for babies?
How you put your baby to bed deserves a lot of attention, since it directly relates to how safe your child will be while in dreamland. Over the last decade, babies' sleep conditions have been the central focus of efforts to understand and reduce the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According to the website for the March of Dimes, putting babies to sleep on their back, on a flat, firm surface is considered the safest way for a baby to catch some Zs.
The thing is, getting a baby to sleep — in any position, at the time you think best — is easier said than done. They are hard to keep warm (but not too warm) and really good at waking themselves up. So you end up torn between wanting to keep your kid at a temperature and in a position most conducive to sleep and also wanting to be sure a sleep suit, sleep sack, or swaddle won't put your baby at increased risk for SIDS. Because each product is different, the recommendations for using or not using them vary. Understanding the differences will help you in deciding whether or not they are right for your child.
Swaddles get a thumbs up from Healthy Children, a website for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises that swaddles are safe for keeping your baby warm and cozy. The most important note to make when using swaddles, is to make sure the baby can move their hips and breath easily, which means the swaddle can't be too tight. Baby Center advises losing the swaddle when your baby starts rolling over onto her tummy, and putting her to sleep in nothing but jammies. In an article for Parenting written by Dr. Sears, the pediatrician said this most commonly happens around the three month mark.
Much like a swaddle, a sleep sack is a safe option for keeping your baby warm while sleeping. As Laura Reno, director of public affairs for First Candle/SIDS Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to the elimination of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, told Babble, “Sleep sacks are really the first product that has come along that allows us to accomplish our goal of reducing SIDS rates.” Easy to use, snuggly, and recommended for use, a sleep sack is a great nighttime option for your little one.
After a baby has become too old to be in a swaddle or sleep sack, the sleep suit serves as a transitional product for babies three months and older. Created by pediatric physical therapist and mother Maureen Howard, Baby Merlin's Magic SleepSuit was designed to keep babies sleeping on their backs longer. "It is designed for babies to use while sleeping alone, on their backs, and in their crib," Howard tells Romper in an interview. She also pointed out that sleep suits aren't for use in a swing or rocker, and should not be used when co-sleeping. Baby Merlin's Director of Sales, Kelly Burton adds that "the sleep suit was designed to comply with the American Association of Pediatrics guidelines for SIDS safety."
As long as you stick with the safety recommendation for swaddles, sleep suits, and sleep sacks, you should feel good about using these products on your little one.