Germs are one of the biggest threats to a baby's health, and they can be found in a variety of places, including the items that infants use, such as clothing and bassinets.
Bassinets are difficult to clean since not every component is washable. Bacteria commonly enter the center of a baby mattress as a result of wet incidents.
If the conditions are correct, poo, pee, vomit, dribbling, bottle accidents, and any liquid disaster in general that gets into the mattress core has a strong possibility of causing bacterial growth and even promote the formation of mold. This might result in an unsafe environment for an infant to sleep in.
That is why it is critical for parents to understand how to minimize any risks. Proper sanitation is absolutely necessary for the baby’s health.
Some of you might think throwing your baby's used bassinet in the washing machine is enough because it is the simplest option. But you have to pay much more attention to it than that.
So keep on reading to find out more about what health impacts crib bedding could have on your baby’s health and how to minimize the dangers.
Potential Risks of Crib Bedding
You do everything you can to help your infant sleep in a secure and pleasant environment.
The good news is that most parents place their newborns correctly in their cribs, which is on their backs. The bad news is that almost half of all babies are exposed to potentially hazardous crib bedding.
Crib bedding looks pretty, and your baby’s cot adorned with it might be the focal point of the nursery. But with it come several risks to your baby’s safety and health.
Therefore, it is important to make sure any hazards to health and safety are dealt with immediately and effectively.
Here we have a list of reasons why crib bedding can be harmful to your child.
Diseases Due To Bacteria
Since a newborn baby’s immune system is too weak to fight germs on its own, it is up to the parents to make sure no harm comes to the kid. Bacteria can easily grow on crib bedding if they aren't washed regularly.
In fact, according to research done by the mattress manufacturer, Amerisleep, a pillowcase has 17,442 times more germs than a toilet seat after one week of no washing.
But, before you panic, you should realize that these germs aren't inherently dangerous.
However, the CDC reports that one potentially hazardous bacterium, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), may survive on bed linens and cause skin infections.
According to The New York Times, the flu virus can only live for roughly eight hours on soft surfaces such as textiles.
Other viruses, such as norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, may remain on fabric for weeks and even survive washing if no bleach or hot water is used, according to NBC News.
Potential Development Of Allergies
Contrary to popular belief, dust mites don’t prefer dusty conditions. Their favorite habitats are warm and moist environments, like bedding, for example.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these microscopic relatives of spiders can cause indoor allergies.
If sheets aren’t regularly washed, you can expect a lot of dust mites to inhabit the crib. Dust mite feces, in particular, can easily be inhaled, which can lead to excessive coughing or sneezing.
More serious health conditions like asthma or allergies may end up developing in your child due to this.
Lead To Odors
Babies don’t always smell that great, and anyone who has a baby knows how messy they can be. Baby sweat, leaky diapers, milk breath, spit-ups, and vomit can lead to some of the nastiest stains.
If you leave the stains unattended or don't wash them off properly, the bedding will start to stink.
These smells aren’t that hazardous to health, but they can be quite unpleasant for you and your baby to deal with. So get rid of those stains immediately!
One bad thing about persistent smells from baby spits, spilled milk, and formulas is that they smell delicious to insects like ants.
When attracted by these sweet smells, these pests can end up infesting the crib and biting your little one in the process.
This can be a living nightmare for your baby and greatly impact his health. If something like this does happen, it's time to switch out your bedding.
Risk of Suffocation
It's not just the bacteria that put your baby’s safety at risk. A soft blanket and a cuddly teddy bear certainly appear to be effective solutions for making your baby's crib cozy.
However, together with comforters, pillows, quilts, and crib bumpers, soft objects might block your baby's airway.
Crib bedding poses a significant hazard to newborns, according to the AAP, as well as groups such as SIDS First Candle Alliance and Health Canada. Suffocation is a possibility, as is the danger of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Despite a significant drop in the usage of hazardous bedding since prior research, the numbers remain alarming.
Since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics initially suggested that babies sleep on their backs, the risk of SIDS has dropped by half.
However, since 2000, there has been a surge in unintentional newborn fatalities due to asphyxia, entrapment in blankets, and other reasons.
Ways to Minimize These Hazards
A lot of you might be rightfully spooked after reading these, but don’t worry, things aren’t that bleak.
If you take the necessary precautions and dutifully maintain hygienic routines of washing and cleaning, your baby will be at no risk. Making sure that you use the safest bedding is also important.
Here are some ways to ensure that the crib remains a safe and clean place for the baby to sleep in.
Skip Extra Crib Bedding Altogether
Sure, crib bedding looks pretty and enhances the overall look of the nursery. But surprisingly, a lot of it is unnecessary.
As discussed earlier, crib bedding poses more harm than good to your child. Evidently, the best way to minimize these risks is to skip the extra bedding completely.
Crib bumpers, comforters, quilts, blankets, plushies, etc., should not be used in a crib. All of them are associated with an increased risk of death or injury as a result of suffocation, trapping, or strangling.
More soft items mean more places for bacteria to grow in the crib. So, removing them is the best way to ensure that your baby's sleeping environment is completely safe.
Be mindful of safety precautions before purchasing a stylish crib set or putting your kid to bed with a handmade quilt.
Safer Alternatives To Crib Bedding
Based on the AAP's recommendations, the only thing a baby really needs in their cribs is a fitted sheet on a firm mattress, with no extra bedding or soft items. When the infant is resting on the mattress, there should be no indentation either.
If you’re worried that your baby might get cold, use sleeping sacks or one-piece sleep clothing instead of blankets and quilts.
Instead of using a crib bumper to prevent head entrapment, buy a crib that follows the most recent safety standards. It is actually illegal to sell or manufacture cribs that don’t follow appropriate safety standards.
If someone gifted you baby comforters, and you feel it's impolite to not use them, just decorate them on the wall or around the crib. When the baby is about to sleep, just remove it.
Stuffed toys can be decorated around the room as well and are much better for playtime rather than sleep time.
What Kind Of Sheets To Buy?
It is important that the crib sheets fit perfectly and snugly on the mattress.
Buy sheets that are fully covered in elastic rather than ones with only small sections of it. Sheets with elastic only at the corners are prone to slipping off more easily.
The next thing you need to look out for is the ratio of cotton in the sheets. Ideally, sheets made of 100% cotton are the best choice as they can withstand rigorous and frequent washing. However, they wrinkle when taken out of the dryer, and although it's not an issue, it can be bothersome to look at. Blend sheets with a high ratio of cotton are the next best option.
Additionally, there are sheets specifically designed with safety as the top priority. Some designs slip over the mattress like a pillowcase, while others include a special mechanism that allows them to stick to the mattress.
Finally, test run any new sheets that you buy. Wash them repeatedly according to the manufacturer's instructions and see whether they have trouble staying on the mattress. If they do, it is recommended that you return them and get new ones.
If you don't really want to throw out all your bedding, then frequent washing is your best choice.
Your baby's health depends on his or her hygiene. As a result, you must always keep their belongings neat.
But how frequently is "frequently" when it comes to washing your baby's bedding? The answer to this question is mostly dependent on your baby.
Some parents simply wash their baby's bedding once or twice a week, while others need daily washing. In addition, different types of bedding require more frequent washing than others.
How Regularly Should You Wash Them?
Things like pillowcases, bedsheets, quilts, blankets, and comforters require washing twice a week at a minimum, as they get stained quite often. It is best to tackle any stains immediately to stop any bacterial growth or odor in its tracks.
As a precaution, many parents purchase crib bumpers for their children. However, much like the bedding, the crib bumper may become soiled. It is unhygienic to leave the crib bumper filthy for an extended period of time. As a result, you'll need to wash it as well. If your baby is sloppy, it is better to wash it once every two weeks at least. Otherwise, washing it once a month is enough.
Mattress pads require less frequent washing. Since they are covered in sheets, you don’t have to worry about them getting dirty too often. But dirt, dust, and skin can accumulate over time. To get rid of that, washing them once a month is more than enough.
Your child’s sleeping environment should be as safe and hygienic as it is cozy. And when it comes to crib bedding, less is more.
Aesthetics should not come in the way of your child’s safety and health. You might be a bit disappointed to learn that the things that make your nursery prettier might also pose some safety hazards.
But on the bright side, you’ll be saving a lot of money and a lot of time. Plus, you can invest in other stuff for your baby instead.
Remember, frequent washing is key when it comes to fighting off bacteria and germs. Keep your child safe from harm with just these few changes. This way, your child can enjoy a much peaceful sleep in a much safer way.