2. Never give your child over-the-counter meds as sleep aids. Cough medicines and antihistamines (such as Benadryl) don?t help children sleep. They may even make them agitated and hyperactive, says Dr. Ian Paul, associate professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. But the biggest concern for infants is a risk of sudden infant death, he says. Nor will painkillers help your baby sleep unless he?s in pain. Always ask your pediatrician before giving any medication to a baby under six months old.
3. Be careful with blankets and pillows. Infants younger than six months may not be able to roll over if a pillow or blanket covers their mouths and noses and obstructs the airway, says Dr. Hoffman. If you want to slightly elevate the head of a baby with a stuffy nose (to help drain mucus), place a pillow under the mattress. The National Sleep Foundation has good information on preventing SIDS.
4. Remember that couches are for sitting, not sleeping. Babies can roll off couches and get stuck between cushions. As a result, they can suffer injuries or even suffocation, says Dr. Hoffman.
5. For sleep, place babies alone, in a well-ventilated room, on their backs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid ?co-sleeping.? When a baby is sleeping with a parent, he can roll over and get caught between the bed and the wall. Or he can get tangled up in pillows and blankets. Keep it breezy, too: Last year a study in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine indicated that infants who slept in rooms ventilated by fans had a 72 percent lower risk of SIDS than babies who slept in bedrooms without them.