Sometimes it seems like naps are wasted on the children – after all, they need them but don’t want to take them. Us parents, on the other hand? Oh, most days if I could nap I totally would! However, that has too much potential to go crazy with my four kids running around.
So while maybe one day I’ll get to take a luxurious nap, today is not that day. Meantime, however, let’s talk about some serious nap truths – like all of the best places to nap for your kids.
Because really. Naps are a beautiful part of parenting. We should get to enjoy them, too, right?
What are the best places to nap for a baby?
In my experience, sleep falls into a hierarchy of goodness. And that hierarchy is based on the potential for the quality of the nap.
The best, most restful, most restoring naps happen when your baby can sleep in a stationary, comfortable bed – like their own crib. It happens when they’re in a great sleeping environment.
In fact, the quality of sleep in a crib tends to be much better than an “on-the-go” nap – one that’s in the car seat, while baby carrying, in a pram or a stroller, or while out and about with the family.
That being said, when you’ve got a cranky, tired child, a nap is better than no nap. Especially if it’s a particularly hard nap regression!
The nap hierarchy of awesomeness: napping in bed is the best option if the baby will take advantage of it. If not, a nap on the go is better than no nap at all.
So if you can get your child sleeping in their own crib or cot, that’s definitely the top of the best places to nap for your child. But if not, don’t ever feel bad about helping them take a nap safely.
Where should my baby never nap?
That being said, there are a few places where you should never let your baby to nap! Ready?
Never let your baby nap in an unsafe environment.
What are some commonly unsafe areas that don’t get mentioned enough?
- Vehicles. Cars can magnify the outside temperature. For example, if temperatures reach 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, letting your baby sleep unsupervised in a car seat in a vehicle is unsafe. The car can become too hot, which can overheat your child and cause serious harm or death.
- On top of washing machines. Look, the noise soothes your baby (usually in a car seat) to sleep. I get it. I’ve used that trick, too. But don’t leave your child, in a car seat, on top of a washer or dryer unsupervised. When the machine jumps, your child will take a seriously bad tumble.
- Unsupervised naps in car seats. Sleeping in a car seat is hard on a baby’s head and neck. It can quickly become an airway issue. So if you’re letting your child sleep in their car seat at all, stay with them. Make sure their airway and breathing are safe.
- Near animals while unsupervised. You wouldn’t leave your child asleep and vulnerable near wild animals. Don’t leave them alone and unsupervised with an unknown element or animal, either. And if there’s any doubt in your mind? Stay with them or remove the animal in question.
Got that all? And yes, I’ve got multiple stories from the Emergency Department for each of those.
Especially hot cars – that one affects kids of all ages. At least until they are old enough to recognize the problem and have the dexterity to escape from their seat belts and the car. But by then, even those kids are dehydrated and cranky. Plus, they’re having to go get help for younger siblings who are still trapped in the hot car.
How should I monitor my baby while they’re napping?
Finally, let’s chat about how to monitor your baby while they’re napping. Because, that way they’re not unsupervised or in an unsafe environment, right?
Want to know how many naps your baby needs?
Monitoring your babies doesn’t have to mean an expensive system. It can be as simple as leaving their bedroom door open (or just cracked) so that you can hear them as they start to wake up.
It can be leaving their pram or stroller next to you or in your line of sight so that you can watch them sleep while you’re eating.
Perhaps it’s taking them for a drive in their car seat. Or maybe it’s baby wearing and dancing to some 80’s tunes while you clean the house. But it’s doing it with them so that you can ensure that their necks don’t get crazy-kinked so that their airways stay secure – and everyone wakes up from the nap happier.
Or maybe it means buying a fancy system to monitor your baby via video and/or an app to make sure they’re okay. That’s all right, too.
Because while part of the reason for the monitoring your baby is to make sure that they’re okay, the other part of it is to make sure you are okay.
Why? Because raising children is hard on your nerves, too. So if you need something extra to help ease your nerves, that’s fine, too. You’ve got this, friend. And if you need some extra help, be sure to join my free Facebook sleep training support group and my email list (keep scrolling for that!).
- How to Handle a Nap Regression (at any age)
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