By Ruth Willford, RNC MSN, care manager, Women’s and Children’s Services
Have you ever heard of the ABC’s of safe infant sleep? Did you even know that there are unsafe ways for babies to sleep? Well there are, and 83 out of every 100,000 babies born in Idaho will die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). In fact, these are the leading causes of death for infants between 1 month and 12 months of age. And the rate of sleep related deaths is 90 percent higher in Idaho than the national average.
So what can you do to change these tragic statistics? The first and most important action you can take is to follow the ABC’s of safe infant sleep. The ABC’s are: Babies sleep safest Alone, on their Back, in a Crib. It is important to remove any toys and soft bedding, including blankets and pillows, before you put them in their crib to sleep. Also, avoid letting your baby get too hot; dress him/her in light clothing and adjust the room temperature to a comfortable setting. And remember, every sleep time counts.
Other things that parents can do reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID are:
- Get early and regular health care during the pregnancy
- Breastfeed your baby – exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is recommended
- Do not drink, smoke or use illicit drugs during pregnancy or after your baby is born
- Do not allow others to smoke around your baby
- Make sure your baby receives all of their recommended immunizations
If all caregivers, including day care providers, followed these recommendations, it is estimated that 90 percent of the 2,500 babies who die each year in the United States from SIDS/SUID could be prevented.