If you plan on bringing your baby to stay at another home overnight, one of the most important considerations is going to be the sleep situation. Unless you’re brand new to parenting, there is a good chance that you’re already well-versed in sleep safety for young babies. However, it can be easy to forget some of the basics, especially when you’re distracted by the other stressors that come along with traveling with a baby. Below, we’ve broken down some sleep safety considerations for bringing your baby to stay overnight at another home.
Sleep Safety Tips for Babies
When it comes to keeping your baby safe while staying overnight at another home, you’ll definitely want to talk with the host ahead of time. Find out if the home is baby-proof and determine if you’ll need to set up a safe play area for your child. It is always wise to bring a foldable playpen along when traveling with a baby since most playpens double as travel cribs and give you a safe, enclosed area to set your baby down.
1. Utilize a Travel Crib
You’ll definitely want to plan on bringing along a travel crib for your baby to sleep in. If you’re already bringing a playpen for your baby, you may be able to use this as a safe sleep area which is super convenient. Look for a travel crib or playpen that is lightweight, foldable, and travel-friendly. If you’re headed to a home that already has young children, it may be worth it to figure out if they have an extra bassinet or crib that your child could use, since this could give you one less thing to pack. Make sure that your travel crib is sturdy and offers a firm sleep surface.
2. Ensure the Crib Sheets Fit Properly
Loose-fitting sheets can pose a safety risk for babies so it is important that any sheets you use fit snugly on the crib mattress. Cribs should only be made with a fitted sheet, rather than having a top sheet and blanket as well. If you’d like, you can use a mattress protector on your crib mattress or bassinet if there is one available for the travel crib you’ve chosen. You could also choose to forego the sheets altogether, as most travel cribs come equipped with a mattress pad that can be used on its own.
3. Lay Babies Down to Sleep on their Back
Laying your baby down to sleep on their back may significantly reduce their risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Stomach sleeping can be dangerous for younger babies who can’t yet roll over on their own. If your child is sleeping on their stomach and their breathing becomes compromised, they won’t be able to move out of this position, leading to suffocation risk. Once your baby is old enough to roll over, it is safe for them to sleep in any position they’d like since they can easily move if they need to.
4. Do Not Place Loose Pillows and Blankets in the Crib with Your Baby
Extra pillows and blankets can also pose a suffocation risk for babies, especially those who are younger. If you are concerned about your baby being cold without any extra blanket, just be sure to dress them in some comfortable footed pajamas or wrap them up with a blanket. Some babies don’t like to be swaddled and will find their way out of a blanket even if they’re wrapped up tightly. In this situation, you may want to try a sleep sack or zip-up swaddle.
5. Use a Baby Monitor or Share a Room With Your Baby
It is important that you remain near your baby while they’re sleeping or utilize a baby monitor. You can bring along a travel-friendly baby monitor that can help you be aware of your baby, even after they go to sleep if you’re in another room. Sleeping in the same room as your baby is a good way to stay close by in case your baby wakes up and needs you.
How Does Sleep Safety Change with Age?
As your baby gets older, their sleep requirements will change a bit. Older babies are at less of a risk of SIDS and are able to move more easily, making suffocation less likely. Below, we’ve broken down some ways in which sleep safety standards change for babies as they get older.
- Once your baby can safely roll over on their own, they no longer need to be wrapped in a swaddle. This may be around two to four months of age.
- It is recommended that babies do not sleep with any extra blankets until they are at least one year old.
- After 18 months of age, it is considered safe to allow your baby to sleep with a pillow.
- Once your baby is able to roll over on their own, they can sleep in positions other than on their back.
- You can transition your toddler into a big kid bed as early as 18 months of age, however, it is recommended to wait until kids are closer to the age of 3 since most aren’t ready for the transition until this age.
Ultimately, it is important to follow what experts recommend when it comes to keeping your baby safe while sleeping but some transitions will also be up to you as the parent. Pay attention to the cues your child offers and make transitions as you see fit.
Traveling to another home with a baby can be a fun and exciting process for everyone. The new environment will likely be exciting and interesting for your child and it is always good to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while as a parent. When it comes to finding a safe place for your baby to sleep at another home, you should definitely show up prepared with a safe and sturdy travel crib. Only use sheets that fit snugly on the crib mattress and always lay young babies down to sleep on their backs with no extra pillows and blankets.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a lightweight, easy-to-setup playpen that can also be used as a travel crib.