4 Unsafe Internet Sleep Hacks You Should Stay Away From

unsafe sleep setuo - baby with a huge yawn laying on a star patterned nursing pillow

We get it, when your baby hasn’t slept in days and you haven’t either, you’ll do just about anything to get them to sleep. You start searching the internet for anything and everything that could help. But what could look harmless might actually be very dangerous. The following baby internet sleep hacks are unsafe and dangerous for infants under 12 months old as well as children in cribs. Let’s review why you’ll want to stay away from internet hacks that seem so simple, yet can be very dangerous.

Weighted Objects

 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not condone any weighted objects in the crib. This includes weighted garments and blankets. The glove filled with rice as pictured is a safety issue as it would increase the risk of suffocation. Infants, even as young as newborns, have the ability to move around during their periods of active sleep. Any item in the sleep space could shift and end up in a position that blocks an infant’s airway. The weighted item could compress the airway, or it could restrict and block the airway. You can read more on the do’s and don’t of safe sleep here.

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If your child likes to fall asleep with your hand on them then make sure this is done for naps during the day so you can stay awake while they sleep. Choose another method at night for sleep and if they are older than 16 weeks, consider teaching independent sleep skills to move away from sleep crutches like this.

Sleep Positioners

Let’s be clear, ALL sleep positioners are unsafe as per the AAP guidelines. “Parents and caregivers are being warned not to put infants in sleep positioners because they can cause a baby to struggle to breathe and lead to death. The Food and Drug Administration issued the warning in response to reports of babies who have died from suffocation associated with the sleep positioners, also called nests or anti-roll products. In most cases, the babies suffocated after rolling from their sides to their stomachs”, as stated in a health alert put out by the AAP1. We do not want to restrict movement or introduce suffocation hazards when a child is left unattended or when the parent is asleep. 

 If you’re concerned about your baby rolling onto their tummy, you’ll be happy to know that it is completely fine if they do so under their own strength and control. As long as your baby is not swaddled and is in an empty crib, not a bassinet, then you are fine to leave them as is. They’ll actually sleep better once they’re able to do so as the Moro reflex won’t be activated. Sleeping on the tummy also helps them feel safe and secure, as all their vital organs are more protected. You will still need to put your baby down into the crib on their back, but you can leave them if they roll over to their front.

If your baby won’t sleep without being surrounded by the comfort of a sleep positioner, then that is something you can work on via sleep training once they are 16 weeks old. Find out which sleep training method is right for you here.

Bumpers (of any kind)

Unfortunately, the baby industry makes bumpers and shows us beautiful pictures of nurseries that use them. However, crib bumpers are unnecessary and not safe for sleep. Your baby will not be critically injured by a bump on the side of the crib. In fact, there are many serious injuries and deaths associated with bumpers since babies can become entangled and suffocated, even in breathable mesh bumpers. Please do not create your own DIY Pool Noodle bumpers as they can release harmful chemicals when ingested and some can off-gas these chemicals in the crib. This means they should be avoided anywhere your child spends many hours sleeping.

If you’re struggling with a child who keeps getting their limbs stuck in the crib slats, use a sleep sack for all sleep. Just like any new skill, learning how to control their body when in the crib is something that will take practice. Be patient, they will learn what not to do. If you are really worried about their limbs or a bump on the head then use a pack-and-play or travel crib. It won’t last long, this phase is temporary as your child further develops their motor skills.

Please stay away from shortcuts to sleep. They can be dangerous and ineffective in the long term. If you’re struggling with sleep, we offer free Discovery Calls so you can get to know us, how we work, and what your solutions are. All safely from your couch!

Pacifier Hacks

 Pacifiers are great for activating the sucking reflex which is very calming for infants. The AAP recommends pacifiers be used with newborns as they can help reduce the risk of SIDS. If your baby takes a pacifier then you know how frustrating it is when it falls out and they wake up. Many exhausted parents have posted pacifier hacks online that help keep the pacifier from falling out when a baby is sleeping. However, these methods are often unsafe as they introduce other elements into the sleep environment that are against the AAP-safe sleep guidelines. Bibs are not safe for sleep as they pose a suffocation and strangulation risk. Any fabric that has the potential to cover the airways is a hazard. Also tucking the stuffed animal or pacifier cord portion of the pacifier into a garment is not safe. These items also present the same issues.

If the pacifier is your go-to solution, then staying close by while your baby is sleeping will be your safest bet. Once your child is 16 weeks old, you’ll be in a great place to transition away from this sleep association and begin teaching independent sleep skills.

Safety Comes First

Safety comes first and foremost for all of us at Good Night Sleep Site. We follow all AAP guidelines and recommendations to ensure our families have a safe and sustainable plan for sleep. To read more please see our New and Updated Information on the safe sleep guidelines here. I know how much of a struggle sleep can be, and when you’re exhausted everything becomes so much more challenging. 

If you’re having trouble teaching independent sleep skills or are fearful of the effects, here are a few resources available to you:

3 Reasons Parents Abandon Sleep Training: How to Avoid Those Mistakes

Crying: Is it good or bad? 5 Eye-opening facts parent needs to know

Sleep Training and Attachment Parenting You Can Do Both

Sleep Training With Siblings in the House

A Science Backed look at Crying and Sleep Training

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Set up a free Discovery Call to chat with one of our consultants live



Health Alerts: Infant sleep positioners, bouncer seats, and more 

October 17, 2017, Trisha Korioth

Sleep Consultant Alison Macklin
Sleep Consultant Alison Macklin
Alison Macklin is a Child Sleep Consultant, based in Toronto, Canada. She is a mom who is very familiar with how it feels to have a child not sleeping properly, and worried about their well-being. Since working through her own infant sleep issues, her passion has become helping as many families as possible, learn how to help their children sleep better and develop those critical life skills.

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