From the moment their babies are born, parents are taught the safety strategies to help protect them from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the unexplained death of an infant under age one. One of the most important rules in SIDS prevention is putting babies to sleep on their backs. It seems simple enough, but what do you do when your baby starts to roll over? Should you keep your baby from rolling over at night?
According to Baby Center, experts recommend placing a baby to sleep on his back for the first year but babies start rolling over before they turn a year old. Dr. Rallie McAllister, co-author of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year told Parents that some babies will learn to roll over as early as three or four months of age, but most will master rolling over by six or seven months. Does this mean that parents need to return their babies to the back sleeping position if they roll over in their sleep? According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health Human Development (NIHCD), the answer is, no. The experts on the site wrote:
Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby's growth. If your baby rolls over on his or her own during sleep, you do not need to turn the baby over onto his or her back. The important thing is that your baby starts every sleep time on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
What To Expected also noted that you must keep up with your safe sleep practices. Just because your baby is rolling over doesn't mean that you can lift your ban on crib bumpers, loose or soft bedding, pillows, and soft toys from their crib. In fact, you should make sure that the baby's entire sleep surface is safe, as it is now all fair game when they start rolling around.
Once your baby starts rolling over, the Baby Sleep Site recommended that you should stop swaddling. The NIHCD warned that swaddling can increase the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death in babies who roll. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a swaddling blanket that comes unwrapped, could cover your baby’s face and increase the risk of suffocation. If your baby is used to being swaddled, and struggles to sleep without it, there are safer transitional sleep sacks on the market that a rolling baby can use.