Infants spend much of the day sleeping, so they’ll drift off virtually anywhere. But are all of their impromptu resting spots comfortable — and safe? Some guidelines:
A Car Seat
The concern: Your baby’s head flops forward or sideways.
The reality: It may look uncomfortable, but it’s not, says Seattle pediatrician Mark Greenfield, M.D. Babies are more limber than adults, so they’re not prone to the same cricks and pains. But there’s a very small chance a preemie or newborn might have trouble breathing in this position. She won’t have the muscle strength to move her head on her own until she’s 2 months old, so readjust it for her when you can safely do so.
You can help keep her head erect in the first place by using a neck support in the car seat or by placing small rolled towels on either side of her head.
A Front Carrier or Sling
The concern: She could burrow into the material and suffocate.
The reality: Relax. There’s no known case of a baby suffocating in either type of carrier, says pediatrician Carden Johnston, M.D., of Children’s Hospital of Alabama, in Birmingham.
An Adult Bed or a Sofa
The concern: She could fall off the edge or suffocate.
The reality: You’re right to be wary. Even babies who have yet to turn over could do so and tumble off, says Dr. Greenfield. And pillows and thick bedding can suffocate an infant. Instead, lay her on a thin blanket on the floor, within your sight.
The concern: She could slip and get caught in the lap belt or wake up and wiggle out while you’re not watching.
The reality: It’s possible. Always use the safety harness and keep an eye on her while she’s in a swing.
An Upright Stroller
(for babies 3 months and up)
The concern: She’s all scrunched up in an awkward position.
The reality: Don’t worry. She’s comfortable, even if it doesn’t really look that way.
(4 months and up)
The concerns: Her head flops forward, sideways, or backward; she’s getting too much sun.
The reality: Head bobbing doesn’t bother your baby, says Dr. Johnston. To protect her from the sun, dress her in a wide-brimmed hat, use a backpack with a canopy, or attach a portable shade. If she’s 6 months or older, you should also apply a sunblock with an SPF of 15 or more, especially if you live in sunnier climes.