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Creating a Breathable and Safe Sleeping Environment for Baby

Baby in Shnuggle Air

‘Breathability’ is a word that is used a lot these days when it comes to talking about baby sleep products.  The information can be overwhelming and confusing.  We’ve put together some information which hopefully helps to break through all the noise associated with breathability as well as suggesting how you can help create a safe sleeping environment for baby.

Its not just the product on its own that’s important in creating a breathable environment for baby.  There are other considerations which are just as important in order to create a breathable and safe sleeping environment.

The Importance of temperature

As we all know, babies, particularly young babies spend a lot of time sleeping, up to 16 – 17 hours a day.  Therefore, it’s really important to consider what baby is sleeping in and the kind of environment they are sleeping in.

They find it difficult to regulate their own temperature and research has shown that overheating from things like wrapping baby up too much or a high room temperature (or both) is linked to an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Supporting the airflow around baby will help to regulate their temperature more easily.

There are a few things we can look out for to help maximise the airflow for baby and provide a safe sleeping environment.

The importance of keeping baby’s sleep space clean and dry

Consider a baby bed made from material that is easy to clean and one that prevents mould or bacteria from growing.  Breathable core materials which don’t hold moisture are ideal.  Many modern baby sleep products, such as the Shnuggle Dreami and Classic Moses Baskets are made from this type of material which are easily cleaned and help to prevent bacteria from growing.

With bedside cribs, such as the Shnuggle Air, dual mesh sides and hypo-allergenic fabrics are also both important in supporting breathability.  With moses baskets, air holes in the base or sides as well as breathable fabric linings helps to promote airflow and regulate baby’s temperature.

Consider Baby’s Mattress

Official guidelines on baby mattresses states that you must use a firm and flat mattress.  Soft mattresses pose a higher risk of SIDs, as does using extra padding on top of the mattress.  It’s also recommended that you do not use a second-hand mattress.

One of the strongest pieces of advice to prevent SIDS is to place baby to sleep on their back, on a firm mattress, with no pillows or other items in the cot.  However, no matter how carefully we watch, from around 4-6 months old babies can turn over in the night and sleep face down or face against a surface.

Using a firm, flat and breathable mattress has the following benefits in terms of both supporting airflow for baby and safe sleeping:

  • Prevents trapped heat and helps to regulate baby’s body temperature
  • With a more regulated temperature, hopefully comes less sweating, therefore a dry mattress reduces the chances of mould or bacteria making a home in your baby’s mattress.
  • Improves airflow and therefore reduces the risks of re-breathing.
  • A breathable mattress with good airflow will also dry quickly so if there are any spills or baby is sick, there is less chance of nasties growing in the mattress.

So, what should you look out for when shopping for baby’s mattress?

Is the mattress firm and flat?

Don’t worry if the mattress feels like it is too hard.  Baby mattresses are designed to be firm in order to reduce the risks associated with SIDs.

Does it conform to British standards?

When researching a baby’s mattress check that it has been tested to British Safety Standards.

The Shnuggle Air mattress has been tested to the latest British Safety Standard BS EN 16890 (a higher standard than BS 1877) and BS 7177.

We also went a step further than the standard regulations and testing requirements and tested the air permeability of our air-flow mattress to BS EN ISO 9237 – 1995.

Also check that baby’s bed conforms to British Standards such as EN 1466 for carry cots and stands which the Shnuggle Dreami and Classic Moses Baskets are tested to. Also check that cribs are tested to BS EN 1130 and Cots tested to BS EN 716 as are the Shnuggle Air Bedside Crib and Cot.

What is the mattress made from?

Mattresses which have a core made up of more air holes are much more breathable than those with a solid structure.  The mattress which comes with the Shnuggle Air Crib and the Cot Air-Flow Mattress are made up of a hypo-allergenic fibre core which has been tested to be 50% more breathable than standard PU foam mattresses.

It is also important to make sure your baby’s mattress does not contain any toxic materials.  Our crib and cot air-flow mattress has been tested as safe from all toxic materials.  Its important to check when researching mattresses that they have been tested and conform.

Is it the correct size for my baby’s bed?

Make sure there are no significant gaps between the mattress and the sides of baby’s bed.  It’s also important that fitted sheets fit tightly and correctly.

We understand that all of this can be a bit daunting.  We really hope that this information will help when you are researching and shopping for your baby’s bed.