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Published on December 20, 2017

toddler sleeping

Safe Sleep for Kids During the Holidays

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.”

Now there’s a lovely holiday image! Keeping those little ones safe while they sleep will require parents to remember some basics. Whether you are in a hotel, at Grandma’s house or visiting friends, to ensure a safe sleep environment during the holidays, be sure to check kids’ sleeping arrangements for safety.

New Crib Safety Rules Went Into Effect in 2011

If Grandma and Grandpa have an old, drop-side crib do not use it. Drop-side cribs are dangerous and are now illegal. They cannot be sold, donated or given away.

People often say to me, “All my kids slept in a drop-side crib and it didn’t hurt them.” My response is, “If you have a heart attack today, would you like us to use the knowledge and technology that we have now, or would you like us to use what we knew 20 years ago?” We have several decades of statistics that show the risks of using old cribs.

Cribs that are not drop-side, but were manufactured before June of 2011 may also be unsafe. You can check with the manufacturer and receive a safety certification for the crib. The best idea might be to bring or buy an inexpensive pack and play. If you buy it used, be sure it has not been recalled. You can get more information on safe sleep equipment here.

What Kid Doesn’t Like Bunk Beds?

My kids had them and loved them, despite the fights over who got the top bunk. Does Grandma still have the old bunk beds you slept in as a kid? If your kids will be sleeping on bunk beds at a relative or friend’s house, be careful.

Approximately 100 kids are injured by bunk beds each day in the United States, most from falls. First of all, kids under the age of 6 should not sleep in the top bunk. Check bunk beds for safety. There should be guard rails on both sides to not only prevent falls, but to prevent a child’s body from slipping over the side and causing their head to be entrapped between the bed and the wall.

The guard rails themselves should not have enough space under them to allow the child’s body to slip through.

Bunk beds should not have corner posts or finials. A child’s clothing can be caught on them if the child falls out of bed, causing strangulation. Check the hardware and mattress supports for durability to prevent the top mattress from collapsing on the person below.

Other Sleeping Arrangements

Make sure headboards on regular sized beds do not have cut-outs or openings that could trap a child’s head. Beds should be tight against a wall or should be pulled away from the wall to prevent a child from being partially trapped between the wall and bed.

Bring a night light on your travels to help a child who wakes in the night and who may be disoriented by strange surroundings.

Hotel cribs were required to be certified as safe when the new crib safety standards went into effect. The hotel should have a certification document that you can request to see. If the hotel provides a play yard in place of a crib, ask if it has been checked for recalls. You can do this yourself by finding the serial number on the item and checking it online.

With a little bit of time and vigilance, we can ensure that children have sweet and safe dreams this holiday season.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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