BRYAN, Texas — With temperatures having dropped in the Brazos Valley this week, it might be tempting for parents of young babies to really bundle their baby up at night when sleeping.
But, health experts advise that parents still need to be practicing safe sleeping in the cold.
Place baby on their back, on a flat surface with no blankets or stuffed animals, and in a bed near mom and dad - but not with mom and dad.
These tenants of safe sleeping are so important to Bryan resident Bradley King, whose infant son tragically passed away while sleeping back in 2008
"So you have the American Academy of Pediatrics, they have safe sleep practices," King said. "The National Institute of [Child] Health and [Human] Development, they have their safe sleep practices, which; they’re all the same.”
King’s son Nathan had been placed to sleep on his stomach by a babysitter at just three months old. King and his wife Laura never want another well-meaning family or caregiver to lose a child to suffocation or overheating during sleep, which is why they work regularly to educate fellow parents.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services urges families to keep babies warm with pajamas or swaddles – not blankets or cuddles.
"Co-sleeping in the same bed is not a good idea," said Mark Wilson, spokesperson for DFPS. "We’ve seen many times, babies can get trapped between a mattress and a corner, and they can roll over in those softer beds."
Texas A&M College of Medicine health expert, Dr. Jason McKnight, notes that it’s also important to make sure the baby isn’t overheated with too many layers.
“You just have to pay attention to how they’re acting," he said. If you’re feeling your baby and they feel hot, or if they are sweating [depending on their age] then it’s definitely time to take some layers off.”
King knows better than most how paralyzing it can be, to constantly worry about a baby’s safety. He experienced that obsession with Nathan’s younger sister. But he urges that the best a parent can do is educate themselves through the proper sources, and have faith in the future.
“We had a little bit more peace sometimes knowing that our child was safe, and then knowing that if something were to happen, as long as we were doing what we were doing, that was God’s will," King said.
King recommended parents visit the following institutions for more information on research-supported safe sleep practices: