New Zealand’s largest provider of support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under 5, is advising parents NOT to use polar fleece suits and bedding for their babies.
Service manager, Kerry Hamilton, says it is better for babies to sleep in natural fabrics like merino blankets rather than synthetic fabrics, reports Stuff.co.nz.
She encourages parents to steer clear of polar fleece when choosing baby’s bedding and clothing.
Kerry said synthetic materials increased a baby’s risk of overheating.
Natural, breathable fabrics including wool and cotton were best, Ms Hamilton said. “It helps them to regulate their heat and helps to prevent overheating.”
“Quite often the quality materials are expensive. We see a lot of polar fleece products around. Sometimes the issue is knowledge but quite often it is affordability.”
Clinical leader, Alison Martin, said there was no problem with a baby or child wearing polar fleece when they were outside, but it was best not to put a baby to bed wearing or wrapped in polar fleece.
“Polar fleeces will heat a baby really well but then they can’t cool off. ”
Babies needed to have their hands and head exposed when they were sleeping so they could regulate their temperature, Ms Martin said.
As well as increasing the risk of overheating, polar fleece is also highly flammable.
Thermal stress (overheating) has been implicated in SIDS and SUDI for many years and avoiding overheating has been one of the strategies to reduce risk of SUDI.
SIDS recommend you should dress baby and use layers as you would dress or use layers yourself: to be comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold.
Research has shown that baby’s risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly is increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy and that risk is even further increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy under heavy bedding or if baby’s head becomes covered by bedding in any position.
Babies manage heat loss very efficiently when placed on the back to sleep with the head uncovered. Sleep baby on the back and keep baby’s head uncovered during sleep to reduce baby’s risk of sudden unexpected death.
Make up baby’s bed so baby sleeps at the bottom of the cot and the blankets can only reach as far as baby’s chest, ensuring baby cannot move down during sleep and get his/her head covered by bedding.
Consider using a safe baby sleeping bag (one with fitted neck, armholes or sleeves and no hood).
Dress baby for sleep and add/remove lightweight blankets to ensure baby’s back or tummy feels comfortably warm to the touch.
Remove hats, bonnets, beanies and hooded clothing from baby’s head as soon as baby is indoors.
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