A good sleep is important for our children’s physical growth and mental development. “Growth hormon is primarily produced when the children is asleep”, explained Judith Owens, M.D, director of sleep medicine in Children’s National Medical Centre. Therefore, among children, some medical problem can occur as a result from lack of sleep and a bad sleeping position.
Although prone sleeping position can make our children sleep more soundly, the safest sleeping position for our baby is supine position, where the baby is lying on its back. What is the advantage of prone sleeping position?
- Effective for children with gastroesophageal reflux disease (the backwards of gastric material into the esophagus).
- Effective for children with respiratory anatomy anomaly (Pierre Robin syndrome, Down syndrome etc).
- Effective for premature baby with respiratory problems. Prone sleeping position can improve the oxygen delivery to its lung.
As stated previously, supine sleeping position is the safest sleeping position for our children. This fact is not without scientific proof. For baby under one year old, prone sleeping position is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As reported by Baby Centre website, the occurrence of SIDS is more frequent among children from 1-4 years old. The exact mechanism of the increased sudden death is not fully understood, but it is believed that prone sleeping position decrease the inhalation of oxygen and decrease the exhalation of carbon dioxide.
There are some other risk factors that are linked to the increased risk of SIDS, which include mother who smoke, bad antenatal care, being a young mother, premature baby, low birth weight, baby boy, and very soft bed.
A supine sleeping position is the safest recommendation for most babies during the first six months of their live, except for some medical circumstances. Parents usually worry about the shape of their baby’s head, if the baby is placed at the same position. Actually, sleeping position does not really influence the shape of the head, and the baby’s head will usually turn normal as the baby grows.
To prevent baby’s head deformity, such as a flat head, every mother can change her baby sleeping position every 15 minutes. Supine position is a good position to train the baby’s motoric development, to improve the strength of the baby’s neck and to train the baby’s motoric movement.
Placing the baby supine while sleeping, and prone while playing could be a good solution. In order for your children to sleep faster, put a comfortable pillow in its lap. If your baby want to sleep in a prone position, make sure that there is no other risk factor for SIDS, the baby can turn their own body and lift their head, and being monitored by the parents.