by Sally McMahon
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between one month and one year of age. The Safe to Sleep campaign is an expansion of the previous Back to Sleep campaign launched in 1994 to reduce the risk of SIDS.
According to Erika Janes, coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville & Jefferson County, a program led by Kosair Children’s Hospital, since Back to Sleep began, SIDS rates have dropped 50 percent across all populations. Despite these decreases, African American and American Indian/Alaska Native babies are at higher risk for SIDS than are Hispanic, American, Asian American or white babies.
The Safe to Sleep campaign expands upon that success by reducing the risk of sleep-related infant deaths by encourages parents to know the ABC’s of safe sleeping for their babies (Alone, on their Backs and in a Crib).
Lowering the Risk of SIDS
Alone: Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, make sure to put him or her back in a separate sleep area in your room, such as a safety approved crib, bassinet or portable play area, when you are finished.
Back: Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest position for all babies, including preterm babies.
Crib: Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet. Firm sleep surfaces can include safety-approved cribs, bassinets and portable play areas. Do not use a car seat, carrier, swing or similar product as a baby’s everyday sleep area. Never place a baby to sleep on soft surfaces, such as on a couch, pillows, quilts, sheepskins or blankets. Keep soft objects, toys, bumper pads, pillows, quilts and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
Also important: Women should get regular healthcare during pregnancy and not smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.