October is SIDS Awareness Month!

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness month. About 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the U.S.* Although sometimes the cause is unknown, there are several actions that parents and caregivers can take to lessen the risk for babies.

Our Infant/Toddler Specialists, Lauren George and Katherine Coleman, are passionate about educating parents and caregivers on safe sleep. They work with providers every day to help make sure their environments are safe.  Some of the practices they often see but must be avoided are:

  • Loose sheets – Loose fitting sheets are one of the biggest violations Lauren and Katherine see.  When looking for sheets, it is always best to try one before purchasing for the entire facility. In general, avoid jersey fabric sheets.  Good-fitting full-size crib sheets are typically easy to find, but sheets that are tight fitting and don’t roll the mattress can be difficult to find for pack-and-plays and porta-cribs. . Pack-and-play sheets should be the “Pack-and-Play” brand quilted sheet. Recommended brands for porta-crib sheet include Koala (Walmart), Babies-R-Us, and American Baby (Amazon).
  • Sleeping in devices like swings, bouncers, and car seats – Infants should always placed to sleep on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress, in a safety-approved crib, porta-crib, or play yard. If the infant falls asleep in another surface (carrier, car seat, swing) immediately remove him/her and place in a safety approved crib, porta-crib, or pack-and-play.
  • Sleeping with bibs, pacifier cords, or wubanubs – These devices may cover the face or present a strangulation hazard.  Crib gyms, crib toys, mobiles, mirrors, and all objects/toys are prohibited in or attached to an infant’s crib. You should not clip or attach pacifiers to the infant or the crib.
  • Blankets in the crib – Keep all blankets, pillows, quilts, and bumpers out of the infant’s sleep area. Instead of a blanket, place the infant to sleep in sleep clothing such as a one-piece sleeper. Do not swaddle infants using blankets – swaddling is not recommended in child care.
  • Stomach sleeping – Infants under one year of age are always placed on theirbacks  to sleep, for naps and at night. Although common myths may lead people to believe stomach sleeping avoids choking, studies show that babies may actually clear secretions better when placed on their backs.
  • Medical device used without Medical Waiver Form – Unless a doctor specifies the need for a positioning device that restricts movement within the child’s crib, do not use these devices. This must be written on the Medical Waiver and completed/signed from the physician.

For more information about SIDS and safe sleep, see our Safe Sleep Handout Packet. Lauren and Katherine also offer Safe Sleep trainings throughout the year. See our Training Calendar for details. Also watch our Facebook page for SIDS awareness posts throughout October!


*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/features/sidsawarenessmonth/

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