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Infant Safe Sleep Information

Safe sleeping baby

Safe Sleep and Infant Deaths

Click here to hear a short announcement concerning Safe Sleep and Infant Deaths.

The infant mortality rate is classified as the death of a baby between the ages of birth and 12 months old.  The saddest part is of all the deaths combined,  30% could have been prevented!

It turns out that many deaths of children under the age of 5 is because of "co-sleeping." Co-Sleeping is when the child sleeps in the same bed as an adult or older sibling.

When an adult sleeps in the same bed as a child, the child can be suffocated by "overlying" (having the adult roll over on top of the child while asleep) or by getting caught in a large comforter, tangled in sheets, or trapped between the bed and the headboard or wall.  This is especially true if the child is sleeping on a couch, or if the adult is impaired by drugs or alcohol, or if the adult is obese.

Most people have heard about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) which is now being called SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome).  We have been advised to keep the babies on their back during sleep and never to lay them on their stomach.  

Here are some more tips from Healthy Start to keep your baby sleeping safely. 

1. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. Their back is the safest position because the infant may not be able to lift their head to allow air into their mouth or nose. Make sure that all caregivers understand that the child be placed on their back. Babies that normally sleep on their back, but are placed on their stomach by an uninformed babysitter have a much greater risk of SIDS. 

 2. Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces. 

3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area. Don't keep pillows, stuffed animals or crib bumpers in your baby's crib or bassinet. Definitely keep all items away from your baby's face. 

4. Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don't smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don't let others smoke around your baby. There are chemicals in second-hand smoke that affects signals in the child's brain that interfere with the regulation of their breathing.  The CDC has issued a report which states children that die from SIDS have a higher concentration of nicotine and cotinine in their lungs.

5. Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep.Your baby should not sleep in a bed, couch, or armchair with adults or other children, however they can sleep in the same room as you in their own crib or cradle. If you bring your baby into bed with you to breastfeed, be sure to put him back into a separate sleep area. 

6. Use a clean, dry pacifier when placing your infant down to sleep, but don't force the baby to take it. If you are breastfeeding, wait until the infant is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier. 

7. Do not let your baby overheat during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. 

 8. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety

9. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. Electronic respiratory and cardiac monitors are available to detect cardiorespiratory arrest and may be of value for home monitoring of selected infants who are deemed to have extreme cardiorespiratory instability. However, there is no evidence that use of such home monitors decreases the incidence of SIDS. Furthermore, there is no evidence that infants at increased risk of SIDS can be identified by in-hospital respiratory or cardiac monitoring.

10. Provide "Tummy Time" to reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby's head. Always have "Tummy Time" when your baby is awake and someone is watching. This helps strengthen their neck, shoulders and arms so they will be able to lift their head. Also, avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.