Sleeping In Baby Swing

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Sleeping in baby swing

We all know that babies love movements, like bouncing, swaying, rocking, jiggling, sashaying, if it involves a rhythmic motion, then you can sign them up. Many babies prefer to sleep in motion, nestled into a rocker, car seat, or a baby swing. But, these things have one problem. They are not the safest sleep spots. Pediatricians call them sitting devices and they are linked to an increased risk of suffocation when used for sleep. [1,2]

But, you should not panic and kick your beloved baby swing to the curb. You should know that baby swing can be an amazing, sanity-saving tool when it is used correctly (like soothing a cranky baby while you cook dinner within sight). It just is not a substitute crib and it should not be used that way. If your baby has a habit of sleeping in the swing, then there are a lot of things that you need to know about this habit and how to break this habit of your baby. If you do not how to stop using your baby’s swing for his sleeping, then talk with your pediatrician.

Ways of using baby swing safely:

You should know that the baby swing is not dangerous if you use it in the way it is designed to be used. This means that you need to do some things before you start using baby swing, like:

Reading the package insert for direction on use:

You need to read how to use your swing and any buckles or attachments that come with it. You should make note of any height and weight limits for your specific swing. You should know that some babies may be too big or too small to use a swing safely.

Not letting your baby sleep in the swing for a prolonged period of time:

It may be fine a catnap under your supervision, but your baby should not spend the night sleeping in the swing while you are asleep too. Pediatricians are recommending moving your baby from the swing to a safe sleeping place if your baby falls asleep in the swing.

Understanding that swing is an activity device:

You should know that a baby swing is not a replacement for a crib or bassinet and not a place where your baby can sleep all night. You should use the swing as a place to safely distract, contain or soothe your baby when you need a break.

These are simple tips that you should apply to any sitting device your child might need to use. A car seat is considered to be the safest way for a baby to travel. But, it is not a safe place for your baby to sleep outside a vehicle.

Risks of baby swing:

Many parents ask themselves why sleeping in a seated position is so dangerous for babies. This is because their neck muscles are not fully developed, so sleeping at a semi-upright angle can cause the weight of their heads to put pressure on their necks and cause them to slump over. In some cases, this slumping can lead to suffocation. There was one 10 – year study in which was found that sitting devices (identified in this study as car seats, swings, bouncers, and strollers) were found to have caused 3% or 348 deaths of 12,000 infant deaths studied. [3]

Of this 3%, about 62% of the deaths happened in the car safety seats. Most of the dead babies were between 1 and 4 months old. What is more important is that seats were largely not being used as directed, with more than 50% of deaths happening at home. Also, this study was found that these deaths were more common when babies were being supervised by a nonparent caregiver (like a grandparent or a babysitter).

This is not something you should be scared of and kick them out. But, you need to use infant devices for their intended purposes. You should make sure that anyone who supervises your child also knows where and how your baby can safely sleep.

Safe sleep for baby:

A flat, empty crib, devoid of cushions, bumpers, blankets, or even stuffed animals is the safest sleep environment for your infant. In a perfect world, parents will put their babies down on their backs drowsy but awake, and their babies will sleep still and sound, for long stretches at night, as well as extended daytime naps.

Recalls of baby swings:

In the past, some of the baby swings were recalled because they were connected to infant injury or infant death. One example is Graco which has recalled millions of swings back in 2000 because they had problems with restraint belts and trays [4]. Almost two decades later from this situation, they began issuing recalls for their rocking sleepers due to suffocation risks for babies who could roll over onto their stomachs or sides.

Another example is Fisher-Price which recalled 3 models of swings back in 2016 after consumers reported a per which is meant to hold the swing seat in place popped out and this caused the seat to fall [5]. But, these are some recalls. You should remember that baby swings have never been a broad ban on all baby swings and most swings are generally safe when you use them correctly.

How to break the habit:

We all know that you get exhausted and your baby gets exhausted. Every single person needs sleep. You may have noticed that your baby sleeps best in the swing and you might not have the motivation to force them to sleep somewhere less comfortable and go back to being a sleep-deprived zombie. But, you should know that a baby swing is not the safest place for your baby to sleep. Below are given some tips for making the transition to a crib or bassinet:

  • If your baby is under four months old, then you should move him or her to a crib or bassinet once they have fallen asleep in the swing. This action may help them slowly acclimate to their crib for sleep.
  • If your baby is over four months old, then you may want to consider some form of sleep training. At this point of sleeping, moving your baby from the baby swing to the crib while they are sleeping could create a sleep-onset association, which is the whole other headache you do not want.
  • You should practice putting your baby down to sleep in the crib drowsy, but awake. You should use a white noise machine or fan and room–darkening curtains to make the environment as sleep-friendly as possible.
  • You must keep your baby’s swing in a busy, well – lit and noisy area of the house during the day reframing it as a place where fun things happen. This will teach your baby that the swing is used for playing and not for sleeping.

If nothing of the mentioned things will work or you are feeling too tired to function, then you should talk with your baby’s pediatrician for help. There may be a medical reason like reflux that makes a flat surface uncomfortable for your baby in the case if your baby is really struggling to sleep in the crib. You can always talk with your doctor because he or she can help you to be quicker the transition from a baby swing to the crib.

You do not have to delete the baby swing from your registry. When a baby swing is used as an activity device and not a sleeping environment, then it can keep your baby occupied while you get a much–needed break. But, until your baby has better neck control, the only safe place for your baby to sleep is on his or her back on a firm and flat surface, so their airways remain open for breathing.

When is safe for your baby to sleep elsewhere:

In some cases, sleep on the move is inevitable and most babies will need to fall asleep in a stroller or a car seat from time to time. Car seats remain the safest way for babies to travel and it is important to notice that almost all car seat–related deaths happen outside a motor vehicle.

Also, it is important to remember that deaths in these devices were relatively rare. But, you should remember that babies in car seats, bouncers, and strollers should be observed. This is impractical if you are driving a car, but you should never leave your child alone in a car seat. You should use these devices as their manufacturers recommend. You should use any seatbelts or restraints that are included. When your baby falls asleep in a swing or a car seat, you should transfer your baby to a crib or bassinet.

In some studies are said that overusing swings and car seats to help babies fall asleep tends to result in frequent nighttime awakenings [6]. Every single person has natural awakenings during the night. If your baby gets used to falling asleep in a baby swing and you transfer him to his crib once he is sound asleep, he is likely to need that swing to fall back asleep whenever he has one of his natural nighttime awakenings. This means that you need to avoid baby swinging to fall asleep your baby as much as you can.

References:

[1] Elsevier. Danger in using car seats, sitting and carrying devices for sleeping infants. Science Daily. 2015. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150424084959.htm

[2] Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How can I reduce the risk of SIDS? Retrieved from www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sids/conditioninfo/reduce

[3] Bell LM. NEJM Journal Watch. Infant deaths in car safety seats and strollers. Reviewing Liaw P. et al. Pediatrics. 2019. Retrieved from jwatch.org/na49208/2019/05/29/infant-deaths-car-safety-seats-and-strollers

[4] Lipka M. Graco issues recall for 7 million baby swings. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 2000. Retrieved from www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2000-04-14-0004131005-story.html

[5] United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fisher-Price recalls infant cradle swings. 2016. Retrieved from www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2016/Fisher-Price-Recalls-Infant-Cradle-Swings

[6] Canapari C. Some babies sleep better in car seats and swings, but are they safe? The New York Times. 2020. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/parenting/baby-sleep-dangerous.html

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