It’s a startling fact, but one that parents, family members and caregivers need to be aware of: Nearly 4,600 babies needlessly die each year due to sudden unexpected infant death, defined as the death of an infant under 1 year old that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly.
Always putting babies to sleep in a safe way is key to the prevention of sudden unexpected infant death.
The current recommendation for safe sleep for infants is the “ABC” method: Alone on their Back in a safe Crib.
“A baby who sleeps on his or her back alone in a safe crib or bassinet, in an appropriately controlled room temperature of 68 to 75 degrees, in the same room with the parents, is highly unlikely to die a sleep-related death,” said Erika Janes, R.N., coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville and Jefferson County, a program led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital.
Other forms of sudden unexpected infant death are suffocation, entrapment, infection, metabolic diseases, heart issues, accidental and nonaccidental trauma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the unexplained sudden death of an infant under age 1.
Sadly, Kentucky is one of the top 20 states for sudden unexplained infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a major factor in that frightening statistic is exposure to smoke.
“We’ve known for a long time that exposure to smoking, especially while a mother is pregnant, is a large contributing factor for SIDS,” Janes said. “We can prevent a lot of deaths if we create safer sleeping conditions and keep children away from smoke.”
REDUCE THE RISK
Eliminate unsafe sleeping conditions for your baby:
• Do not allow your baby to sleep with other children or adults either in bed or on a sofa or chair
• Place your baby to sleep on his or her back — never on his or her stomach
• Do not use blankets or comforters in the crib with your baby
• Do not place pillows in the crib with your baby or put your baby to sleep on a pillow
• Do not smoke in your home
To receive a free Safe to Sleep brochure, call the Office of Child Advocacy at (502) 629-7358.