One important component of infant safe sleep requirements is to always place babies on their backs to sleep. Putting infants to sleep on their backs has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, babies need to balance the time spent on their backs with time on their stomachs, to strengthen their core and neck muscles and to avoid flat spots on their heads. This is where tummy time comes in. It’s critical for anyone caring for an infant, from parents to childcare providers, to know about and practice safe tummy time.
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is just what it sounds like, time spent by infants on their stomachs. Doctors recommend starting tummy time as soon as possible for just a few minutes a day with newborns. Time should gradually be increased as the infant gets older and stronger. Tummy time is essential for babies to grain the strength they need to roll over, sit up, and crawl. Toys and colorful mats can help make tummy time more enjoyable.
Safe tummy time
It’s very important for tummy time to be practiced safely, especially in childcare settings where providers are caring for many infants and children.
- Tummy time should always be supervised. Never leave infants alone during tummy time.
- Tummy time should only be practiced when the infant is awake and alert.
- If babies fall asleep during tummy time, they must be moved immediately to a crib and placed on their back. Babies should never sleep on their stomachs.
- Do not place babies on loose blankets or pillows for tummy time as this can increase the risk of suffocation.