This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

October is National Safe Sleep Awareness Month. Make sure to check out the Hub’s Newsletter for more information on what safe sleep looks like, and as with everything, please consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions. As I see these posts about safe sleep, I can’t help but think about where my daughter is now with sleeping. She may still call herself a baby, but we are now having to think about taking off the front gate of her crib to make her precious resting place a…toddler bed!

It is crazy for us to think about, but the reason we are starting to consider our options is safety. She is getting taller and moving around more and more while she sleeps. We don’t want her feet to get stuck in the crib’s bars and we’re hoping that she doesn’t think she can to start to practice her climbing skills.

While you may not be quite at this stage yet with your little one, safe sleep is even more important for infants and babies and there are a few important tips that I’ve learned and that doctors recommend to keep our precious babies safe while they sleep.

Sleep alone – Babies, especially infants should sleep alone. A bassinet next to your bed is a great way to keep them close and safe.

Back to sleep – Always place your infant and baby on their back to go to sleep. Tummy time is a great way for them to explore and learn to push themselves up while they’re awake, but for naps and bedtime make sure to lay them on their back.

Flat mattress, no toys – Your child’s mattress should be flat, firm and free of any toys, blankets or pillows that they may try to pull to their mouth or over their head. For extra warmth you can put them in fleece pajamas or wrap them up in a tight swaddle.

Make sure to follow these steps along with your pediatrician’s advice to help your little one fall asleep safely. A sleeping child is one of the sweetest and most heartwarming sights for a parent/caregiver to see…so go ahead…sneak into their room one more time for one last loving look.

This is fatherhood…