Parenting Connection: Keeping infants safe while sleeping

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Keeping infants safe while sleeping.

October is Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness Month – and even though the number of babies dying each year due to sudden infant death syndrome continues to decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say roughly 3,500 still die every year in the United States from sleep-related incidents, including SIDS. So let’s get you the latest facts and tips for preventing SIDS from ever impacting you or someone you know.

Let’s start with some facts. SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. More than 90% of SIDS deaths take place before babies reach 6 months of age. Research shows that unsafe bedding, such as soft or loose blankets in a baby’s sleep area, remains the leading cause of infant death. Let’s stay on that topic. According to experts, factors that place a baby at higher risk of dying from SIDS include the following:

*Babies who sleep on their stomach or side rather than their back
*Overheating while sleeping
*Too soft a sleeping surface, with fluffy blankets or toys
*Babies born to mothers who had little, late, or no prenatal care
*Premature or low birth weight babies

The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed the following guidelines to assist parents and child caregivers in keeping infants safe during sleep time:

*Infants should always be placed on their backs on a firm sleep surface with a tight-fitting sheet.
*Cribs or bassinets should be bare. Do not use crib bumpers, soft toys, pillows or blankets.
*To reduce the risk of SIDS by 50 percent, parents and infants should share the same room, but not the same bed, until the infant is 1 year old.

In addition, you can also follow the ABC’s of Safe Sleep — which is babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Safe Crib. It’s also important to know that mothers who smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to have a baby that dies of SIDS.

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