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Safe Crib Practices – S3 E3

Good sleep gives your little ones the chance to dream and the energy they need to explore the world around them. Today’s episode reviews crib safety reminders to give you peace of mind while your kiddos sleep tight.

Yomaira Castillo sits down with host Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez to discuss everything you need to know about crib safety. They talk about everything from creating safe sleep environments to accessing safe cribs and more.

Podcast Resources:
Safe Kids Arizona
Learn the ABCs of Safe Sleep
Contact us: AZDHS Injury Prevention
Strong Families AZ
Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez
Podcast Credits:

host Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez is the Chief of the Office of Children’s Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services. She is married, has two young children, and loves reading (anything except parenting books!) and watching movies and TV. She loves to spend time with her kids (when they aren’t driving her crazy) and celebrating all of their little, and big, accomplishments. Jessica has been in the field of family and child development for over 20 years, working towards normalizing the hard work of parenting and making it easier to ask the hardquestions.

host Guest: Yomaira Castillo


[00:00:00] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Welcome to the Parenting Brief. I’m your host, Jessica Stewart Gonzalez, an Arizona working mom and chief of the Office of Children’s Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services. This show brings parents with kiddos under five tips and advice to help families stay safe while spending quality time with their little ones.

[00:00:28] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Parenting Brief. In Season one, we talked about every parent’s dream getting your child to sleep. That episode covered the ABCs of safe sleep. That stands for alone on their back and in a crib. Today we’re focused on the “c” of the ABCs, the crib, and safe sleep practices.

[00:00:50] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: We’ll discuss what’s okay to go in the crib and what needs to be kept out. Things like your kids’ favorite bottle, fluffy blankets, and tiny toys that are often in the room during the day should be put away for bedtime. Our guest today shares everything parents need to know to make sure the crib is a safe place for your kiddo to dream in.

[00:01:13] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Joining us today to teach us about bedtime and crib safety is Yomi Castillo. She’s the Injury Prevention Manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Thanks for coming back on the show, Yomi.

[00:01:23] Yomaira Castillo: Thank you for having me, Jessica.

[00:01:26] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: So what is okay for parents to put in a crib so that their little ones can sleep comfortably and safely?

[00:01:33] Yomaira Castillo: So the only thing you should be putting in a crib is the baby and a nice fitted sheet in the crib. There should be nothing else besides that, and obviously the baby in a wearable sleep sack if you have that or even just a onesie that way, there’s nothing else in the crib.

[00:01:54] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: And what about like being swaddled in a blanket or something like that? I know you said like the sleep sack, but it does that count as the same thing if a blanket is being utilized.

[00:02:04] Yomaira Castillo: If you’re gonna swaddle baby, which most parents do because you want them to be nice and comfortable, right? But once they are able to swaddle themselves, then the rules should really be, and what we read and know is that you want to put them in something that is gonna cover them, if that’s what you’re looking for, so that they can’t put anything over their face. Most babies, they’ll move and they’ll push something up onto them, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid so that they’re not rebreathing that air. So swaddling is okay up until the time that they can unswaddle themselves. Then I would definitely go with something like a wearable blanket or a sleep sack, something of that nature.

[00:02:46] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: And what about utilizing or having also in the crib, like a binky or a pacifier, some type of, you know, like self soothing item?

[00:02:56] Yomaira Castillo: That’s a great question. So most babies, when they’re gonna be put down, that’s how they self-sooth, right?

And that’s what we’re hoping for, is that they learn how to go to sleep on their own. If they start off with a pacifier or a binky. And that’s how they fall asleep. Leave it in, don’t take it out. And if they happen to push it out, then just remove it, you know, once they’re done. But don’t try to put it back in because then you’re probably gonna wake ’em if they’re nice and comfortable.

And that’s what we’re really trying to get to. So definitely okay once you lay them down and then after, if they push it out, then you can just remove it.

[00:03:31] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: I know that when utilizing, you know, blankets or pillows or, or those types of things also to try and, um, help regulate temperature and making sure that the baby is, you know, warm but not too warm and not cold. How do you really manage and balance that when the recommendation is to not put anything into the crib?

[00:03:52] Yomaira Castillo: You know, I know parents do struggle with this, and what I can tell you is, babies are, they’re gonna be comfortable if you are comfortable. So if you are warm, then you’re probably gonna turn the AC up or a fan of some sort just to get the air circulating or whatnot.

And if they’re cold, then you’re probably gonna turn their heater on to make it a little bit warmer in the room. And that’s really what people are, are really wanting you to do, we really want you to not put anything into the crib or into the pack and plate, if you will, whatever it is that you’re using, as long as it’s just their own sleeping environment.

So really, if you can work on the temperature of the room of the home. Wherever it is that you’re living to make sure if you’re comfortable, then baby will probably also be comfortable. We don’t wanna overdress because then you’re gonna overheat and then that’s another issue. So really keeping the room or the home as comfortable as possible for all parties involved.

[00:04:53] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: So as opposed to trying to match baby to the temperature, try and match the temperature to the baby.

[00:04:58] Yomaira Castillo: To the baby. Yes. That’s ideal.

[00:05:01] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: You talk about this idea of like not rebreathing in their air, and I think that a lot of parents have this idea like, oh, well they can’t be smothered by some, they’re not gonna suffocate, you know, because the blanket is a light weighted blanket.

There’s not enough weight on it to make it so that it would make the baby suffocate. But you’re using these other, you know, words and terms that indicate that like the weight of the item is not actually necessarily the concern, but really just having that lack of flow of oxygen and clean air movement is one of the risk factors.

[00:05:36] Yomaira Castillo: It is. And so people don’t always realize that, I can’t say this enough. You want them alone on their back in their own sleeping environment or crib. And so just because something is light doesn’t mean it’s not gonna cause harm. And so we want anything that can do that, just not within their sleeping environment.

And I think that’s part of the misconception, you know? And that’s why people will continue to do that unless you really follow these simple rules. Alone on their back in a crib.

[00:06:07] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Is it safe to purchase a used crib pack and play bassinet?

[00:06:13] Yomaira Castillo: You know, I would really caution people to do that. It’s kind of like the same concept as a car seat. You wanna know the history, right? You wanna know if it’s ever been involved with anything. It making sure that you know, there’s no defects on it, that everything is still working properly. So if you’re trusting that you’re getting it from, say, a great family friend versus the neighbor that lives three houses down that you barely even see, I would just caution you.

Making sure that you know where it’s coming from, that you know the history, that it’s never been broken or there’s no missing parts. So really making sure that you know some of that information before you put your little one into this precious, safe sleeping environment. Because you know we all wanna keep our baby safe.

[00:06:58] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Where and how can families access their own sleeping environment? A safe sleep environment, um, like a, a crib or a pack and play or, or a bassinet? Is there somewhere families can go, um, if they don’t have the means to be able to purchase a brand new one?

[00:07:18] Yomaira Castillo: I would encourage anyone that’s looking for somewhere a safe sleep environment.

A lot of our partners within the local county health departments have some, some of our hospital partners have some, we don’t necessarily hand them out at the department, but if you need somewhere, I can refer you to somewhere if you’re looking up, depending upon where in the state of Arizona you’re located.

So definitely keep that in mind. Safe kids, coalitions from around the state also have them. We have a lot of great partners at the table. And so even some of our sister agencies are providing them now as well. So, you know, give us a call, shoot me an email if you’re looking for somewhere and I can certainly direct you to that information or to one of our partners from around the state that, um, has product to be able to provide the education and the resources.

Because we’re always gonna wanna provide education prior to just giving you a product and that comes with anything that the state health department does.

[00:08:24] Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Thank you Yomi for sharing your expertise and if you want to learn more about episodes from past seasons and to stay up to date when new episodes air, follow us, wherever you listen to podcasts. If you know a friend or family member with a little one, please share this episode with them. Until next time, this is Jessica. You’ve got this.[00:08:50]

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