One afternoon, a patient came to the gynecology clinic seeking conception few years after she lost her baby. While taking her history, I asked if she didn’t mind telling me what was the cause of that baby’s death. Her response sent chills down my spine…
She said the 10 month old baby fell down from the bed and was found dead on the floor. The bed was slightly high, according to her, and the floor was made of ceramic tiles which apparently had a severe impact on the baby’s head, resulting in a bleed into the brain.
When I got home that day, I took a closer look at my home and ensured that everywhere was childproof. To be honest, my children have fallen off the bed a couple of times and all I say is AlhamduliLlaah that they weren’t hurt.
Many parents practice co-sleeping. I do too. My children dislike sleeping in cribs. So, I simply snuggle them beside me on my bed. In fact, most times, the older children also sleep with us too. Co-sleeping has its pros and cons. The most important pro for me is that I can easily breastfeed my baby on demand, without having to stand up from the bed. But the downside is the risk of suffocating the baby or resting on his tender limbs, with potential for fractures and nerve damage.
Ceramic tiles are not ideal for a home with babies and small children. Wooden floors are better. If you have ceramic tiles in your home, invest in a fluffy rug with thick underlay, at least in the baby’s room (or your room if you co-sleep). Get other small rugs or play mats and put them around the places where your baby might sleep or play.
If you wake up in the morning and your baby is still on the co-sleeping bed, NEVER EVER LEAVE HIM UNATTENDED. There are chances that the baby will be able to roll over as early as four months of age, and even you might not have noticed it. Same goes for changing tables, sofas and any other high platforms you usually put your baby on.
Consider any of these options to avoid stories that touch:
*Carry him out of the bed. This may be inconvenient for you and the baby especially if he’s still asleep. But trust me, it’s the safest thing to do. Lay him gently in his own crib, or spread a thick blanket on the floor and lay him down, or strap him on your back, or carry him snuggly on your shoulder. You can also get a mobile rocker or stroller and push him wherever you’re going.
*Install a baby monitor in the room if you can afford it. You can then keep track of the baby from anywhere within the house, but that’s definitely after ticking all other safety boxes.
*Bring the mattress down to the floor. That way, any accidental fall will not cause serious injury, hopefully.
*Place him at the center of the bed, or close to the wall, far from the edges and surround him with pillows so that he won’t be able to move to the edges.
*Place cushions or pillows on the floor around the bed, so that if he rolls eventually, he can have a soft landing.
*Ask someone to stay and watch the baby or lie down beside him, if possible.
*Show your baby how to get down softly from the bed. As soon as the baby starts crawling, he should be able to get off the bed by putting his feet down first. If you playfully demonstrate this maneuver to your child once or twice, he should be smart enough to master it.
As a child begins to move around the house, it becomes more necessary to put other safety measures in place. All sharp edges, platforms, staircases, doors, electrical appliances etc, should be modified/hidden away from their reach.
May Allaah keep us and our children safe.