11 things you should know about baby sleep sacks

What's a baby sleep sack? It's a blanket pouch that zips up under your baby's arms and snaps over his shoulders so that he can't kick it off or easily wriggle out of it. The hope is that this will help prevent baby from waking up because he's cold.

Some parents consider this to be an incredibly helpful accessory, while Health Canada maintains that "no sleep devices or aids of any type are recommended for infants." The Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, however, has stated that "Sleep sacks and wearable blankets designed for safe sleep can replace the need for a blanket."

In the United States, on the other hand, they are not only popular, but there is a growing belief that they may help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The executive director of the American SIDS Institute said “Sleep sacks are really the first product that has come along that allows us to accomplish our goal of reducing SIDS rates. We very strongly recommend sleep sacks.”

If a sleep sack feels right for you and your baby, here's how to make your selection:

  1. Make sure the bag fits your baby. Sleep sacks are measured by age. The openings at the neck and arms should be snug enough so your baby won’t slip down inside the bag, which could result in suffocation or overheating.
  2. Make sure the bag fits the season. Have a summer sack and a winter sack. A fast way to gauge if your baby is warm enough is to put your hand on his tummy. Don't use his hands or feet as a gauge.
  3. Be mindful of your home's temperature. According to the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, the correct night time bedroom temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees Celcius.
  4. Put a thermometer in your baby's room.
  5. Your baby's sleep sack should not have a hood.
  6. Your baby's sleep sack should not have any trim, buttons or snaps or other attachments that could become choking hazards.
  7. Buy a well-known brand of sleep sack from a reputable retailer.
  8. Never use a sleep sack with a duvet or other covering; it risks overheating, a major contributor to SIDS.
  9. There should be nothing in the crib but your baby snugly fit in his sleep sack.
  10. Your baby should always sleep on his back.
  11. For nighttime diaper changes, don't take the sack off, just unzip it.

Now go have a nap!

11 things you should know about baby sleep sacks
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