I can remember being terrified to bring my first child home from the hospital. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was a disease that lurked in the back of my sleep deprived brain. I wanted to stay in the hospital where 24-hour surveillance could be done by a professional to ensure his safety. Thankfully, as the hospital stay ended, my wise and heroic mom came to the rescue. She offered to watch my son nap if I would get some much needed sleep to aid my own healing process after giving birth. When my second child arrived, admittedly I was less guarded and afraid. So much so that I made some mistakes around safe sleep. We were fortunate and have two children in their teens that give us new worries and concerns.
Unfortunately, families of 3,500 infants each year experience the devastating loss of a child due to a sleep-related death. Each year in Colorado, according to data from the Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System, about 50 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly while they sleep, commonly referred to as SIDS.
As most of these sleep-related infant deaths are preventable, we would like to take this opportunity to address the miss-information and provide resources and information to bring awareness. We invite those reading this newsletter that are yet to be parents, have babies that sleep safe, or are parents of grown children, to share the checklist below to educate a friend, family member, or co-worker.
The National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health has created the following Checklist for Infant Sleep and Breastfeeding. This is a checklist of what to look for in images used of sleeping children, but all are good reminders about safe sleep environments that can educate parents and caregivers to reduce the risk of infant deaths.
Other Safe Sleep Resources:
If you are a child care provider or parent with a caregiver who could benefit from safe sleep information, here’s a valuable webinar to watch:
Webinar Recording: Improving Safe Sleep Conversations:
Strategies for Helping Families Adopt Safe Sleep Habits
Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, founder of the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center, leads a series of role playing exercises where she demonstrates tactics to engage families from different backgrounds in meaningful conversations about safe sleep. These actionable skills will benefit all health professionals, human service providers, community health workers, home visitors, peer supporters and family members working to improve infant health outcomes. Speakers include Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA • Jennifer Ustianov, MS, BSN, RN, IBCLC. Listen to the recording and access other resources on the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)’s website.