Michigan babies “sleep safe”
Learn how you can help keep babies safe during Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Michigan.
Gov. Rick Snyder has named September Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Michigan and with good reason. Nearly 4,000 babies die every year in the United States due to Sudden Infant Death (SIDS), suffocation or undetermined reasons. Over one hundred of those babies are from Michigan. The American Journal of Public Health recently found that only 25 percent of infants who died were sleeping in a crib or on their back. Suffocation of infants due to unsafe sleep environments is nearly 100 percent preventable!
SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than one year. It is the leading cause of death in infants and most deaths occur between 2 and 4 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued updated safe sleep guidelines that explicitly discourage bed-sharing. Sleep recommendations have changed as the research has evolved on infant deaths.
The most recent guidelines for safe sleep for infants include:
- Back to sleep
Always place a baby on her back for naps and at night for sleep. The “back to sleep” position is the safest and every sleep time counts. Babies should be placed on their tummies for play.
- Use safety-approved mattresses
Babies should be placed on firm sleep surfaces or on approved mattresses covered by a tight fitting sheet. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has printed guidelines for safe sleep products.
- Empty the crib
Remove all toys, loose items, pillows, blankets and bumpers from the sleep area. Save the blankets for tummy time and play time.
- Don’t allow smoking
Exposure to second-hand smoke increases an infant’s risk of SIDS. Explain to family members and friend that your baby needs a smoke-free environment for her health.
- Keep baby close in their own sleep spot
Babies should never sleep in a bed with adults, a couch or chair. If you breastfeed your baby, put him in a safe sleep spot after feeding is finished.
- Don’t overdress
Babies should wear light sleep clothing and be put to sleep in a room that has a comfortable temperature for adults. Sleep sacks are recommended for easy and safety.
One in five sudden infants deaths occur when an infant is in the care of a non-parental caregiver. Many of these happen when babies who usually sleep on their backs at home are place on their tummies by their caregivers. These “unaccustomed tummy sleepers” have an increased risk of SIDS that is six to nine times higher than the average.
Tomorrow’s Child, Michigan SIDS provides education, support and research for all Michigan residents. Tomorrow’s Child launched a Back to Sleep campaign in 1994 recommending that infants be placed to sleep on their backs. Since 1994, SIDS rates have decreased by more than 50 percent. Join all Michigan residents in September and throughout the entire year to encourage parents and caregivers to use safe sleep practices. Together we can make a difference in the lives of Michigan children.
For more articles on child development, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.