During the last 20 years, research has brought to light the dangers of an unsafe sleep environment for a newborn. This year the Safe to Sleep Campaign turns 20 and we would like to take this opportunity to discuss the importance of safe sleeping conditions for all children less than one year of age. There are local and national organizations alike that have taken up the cause of eliminating unsafe sleep environments for newborns, including the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition, right here in Rochester, NY.
What does “safe sleep” mean?
Keeping a baby safe in the crib requires a less-is-more approach.
Babies should always sleep alone on their backs, in an approved crib or bassinet, with no blankets, pillow, crib bumpers or toys.
According to the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition’s Website:
- “Your baby is safe when placed on his or her back in a crib or bassinet each and every time he or she sleeps. Even five minutes in an unsafe sleep place could cause death.
- The crib or bassinet should have no blankets, bumpers or toys. Your baby can become stuck in them or roll into them and suffocate.
- Your baby should never sleep with a parent or a sibling. They could roll over on the baby in their sleep, killing the baby. Many moms think they won’t roll over on their baby but it does happen.
- Even a few minutes on an adult bed is risky for your baby. Soft bedding and pillows can be too close to a baby’s mouth and nose, limiting his access to oxygen and causing him to slowly suffocate.
- Sofas and chairs are also dangerous for your baby. Your baby should sleep in a crib, on his or her back every time he or she sleeps.
- It’s your baby. It’s your choice. Tell everyone who cares for your baby about safe sleep and insist on your baby sleeping in a safe place.”
How often does this happen in our area?
The startling fact is that around 10 babies die every year in our area due to unsafe sleeping conditions! All of these deaths are entirely PREVENTABLE. Most of these deaths (96%) occurred in children between the ages of one month and 12 months. This means that we are doing a good job advocating for safe sleep practices in the newborn period, but lose our focus on these important rules once we think a baby is a bit bigger.
- co-sleeping (with an adult or sibling)
- sleeping in a space other than a crib or bassinet
- sleeping in a crib or bassinet with soft bedding, bumpers, pillows and toys
What can I do to bring safe sleep into my home?
The first step in addressing any home safety concern is take a deep breath! If the above information on safe sleep is all new to you, this is a great opportunity to learn more and improve the sleep environment in your home and for loved ones and friends with young children! The second step in the process is to look at the above guidelines for safe sleep and implement them. There is no time like the present to get ride of unneeded crib bumpers, blankets, and toys that could cause your baby harm.
If you have more questions about local and national safe sleep practices, please check out the below resources! Also, feel free to reach out to the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition for more information about efforts in our area to eliminate these tragic deaths!
Baby Safe Sleep Coalition
c/o Jewish Family Service of Rochester
441 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: (585) 473-SAFE (7233)
AAP Policy Statement on Safe Sleep
AAP Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep
Halo Sleep: http://www.halosleep.com/blog/tag/Sleep+Safety