OCTOBER IS SAFE SLEEP MONTH: HERE ARE THE FACTS
Infant deaths due to unsafe sleep environments are 100% preventable. In the most recent span of three years, according to the Michigan statistics, we have lost 184 babies due to accidental suffocation or strangulations in bed or unsafe sleep environments.
Infants can accidentally suffocate and die from sleeping in an adult bed, waterbed, chair or couch, sleeping with an adult or sleeping with a blanket or stuffed toy.
Deaths due to unsafe sleep environments are not SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and are preventable. Babies are safest when they are placed on their backs in a crib of their own without any additional items.
It is important to talk about safe sleep practices with everyone who cares for a baby, including child care providers, babysitters, family and friends. Sleeping instruction should be provided to place babies on the back during naps and at night.
Safe Sleep Education is a priority of The Family Support Center of Barry County (FSC). The FSC began a Safe Sleep program in 1999, called Crib Resource in Barry (CRIB). Through this service, families with financial need or potential risks to infants are provided a full-sized crib for an infant, or a toddler bed for the older sibling, so the new baby can have the crib. In addition to the crib, 2 fitted sheets, a hand-made quilt for tummy time, a nice tote bag, sleep sack and educational materials are provided. The Family Support Center CRIB Program is fully funded by the Barry County United Way who supports the conviction that “every infant should rest in a safe sleeping environment!”
In 2013, the FSC joined Cribs for Kids, Inc., a national organization also providing safe sleep education. This collaboration added “bulk buying power” and has allowed the FSC to expand its CRIB program. The program includes an option for the Graco Pack ‘n Play and a Safe Sleep Survival Kit consisting of a Halo Sleep Sack, and educational materials.
The FSC offers the following guidelines to keep babies safe, which have been adopted from the American Academy of Pediatrics revised guidelines of 2011:
- Always place the baby on the back to sleep, not on the stomach or side
- Place baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet (never on adult beds, pillows, chairs or couches)
- The baby can sleep in the same room as the parents, but never in the same bed with adults or other children
- Ensure that the crib does not contain pillows, bumper pads, wedges, stuffed animals, blankets, etc.
- Sleep clothing such as sleepers, sleep sacks and wearable blankets are recommended alternatives to blankets
- Do not overheat the baby
- Do not allow anyone to smoke around the baby
- “Tummy Time” is playtime when infants are awake and supervised. This will help build strong neck and shoulder muscles and minimize the occurrence of positional head flattening.
For more information contact the Family Support Center of Barry County at 269-945-5439