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How to Discuss Safe Sleep Before Your Baby’s First Day in Child Care

This post is sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services. We are proud to feature this important mission and agency as a resource for the community of Moms we love so dearly!

During the early days, weeks, and months of parenthood, you and your baby experience a lot of “firsts.” However, none may be as exciting or overwhelming as your infant’s first day in child care.

Baby sleeping safely in a sleep sack

Baby sleeping safely in a sleep sack

To prepare, you may begin collecting items your baby will need to help him/her transition to a new environment like extra clothing, a favorite pacifier, or a familiar toy.

While these items will make your baby more comfortable, taking steps to ensure your trusted caregiver tends to your baby’s needs the same way you do is also essential to your baby’s wellbeing.

This is especially true when it comes to practicing safe sleep. The risk of SUIDS (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome) is higher when infants who are used to sleeping on their backs are placed to sleep on their tummies by a different caregiver. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that the risk of SUIDS is 18 times higher for babies placed in this unaccustomed sleeping position.

Initiating Safe-Sleep Discussions

It’s important to discuss safe sleep with all of your baby’s caregivers, whether they are a grandparent, a neighbor, or a trained child-care professional. Having a conversation with your caregiver about where your baby sleeps, how he/she is positioned while sleeping, and how he/she is monitored while sleeping increases your baby’s safety.

You can start the conversation by asking a few simple questions, such as:

  • May I see where my baby will sleep?
  • Have you completed safe-sleep training this year?
  • How is my baby positioned while he/she sleeps?
  • Do you offer my baby a pacifier when he/she is being put down to sleep?
  • How often do you check on my baby when he/she is sleeping?
  • During tummy time, is someone making sure my baby is awake and active?
  • If my baby gets cold, do you use a sleep sack or change the temperature of the room?
  • May I see a copy of your safe-sleep policies?

Child-care providers licensed by the State of Colorado are required to follow a set of rules aligned to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe-sleep guidelines, as well as complete annual safe-sleep training. For more tips on safe sleep and talking with your child-care provider, visit the Colorado Shines Safe Sleep at Home and Everywhere page.

If your caregiver is a friend, family member, or neighbor, they should also practice these guidelines.

To help prepare for your baby’s first day in child care, print this checklist of things to pack, questions to ask, and safe-sleep requirements.

Safe Sleep Awareness Photo Contest

October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, which is focused on helping parents and caregivers take precautions to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). CO4Kids is hosting a Safe Sleep Awareness photo contest to help promote safe sleep practices for babies. Enter today by sharing a photo of your baby sleeping safely!

About the author:

Katherine Apjoke is a Broomfield-based, licensed in-home child-care provider with a Level 5 rating (the highest possible) from Colorado Shines. She is also an Expanding Quality in Infant and Toddler Care (EQIT) instructor and coach, and the EQIT Coordinator for the Broomfield Early Childhood Council. Katherine has been working in Early Childhood Education for almost 20 years. She is happily married to her high-school sweetheart and best friend. They have two grown boys, a daughter-in-law and two beautiful granddaughters. Early Childhood Education is her passion.


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