Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed September 2013 as Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Michigan.

During this month, the Michigan departments of Community Health, Education and Human Services, and other local agencies work collaboratively through the Infant Safe Sleep Advisory team, to raise awareness of the important steps parents can take to ensure the safety of their infant children while sleeping.

Each year in Michigan, nearly 150 infants die as a result of unsafe sleep environments.

These deaths are 100 percent preventable, said officials from the Michigan Department of Human Services.

From sleeping with parents and siblings to cribs filled with blankets and toys, infants are put at risk of suffocation when their sleep area is not appropriate for a baby, officials said.

Babies are most safe when they are placed on their backs in a crib of their own, without any items such as pillows, blankets and toys.

Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder has announced her continued support of the safe sleep initiative.

Her announcement was made at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, the latest to partner with the state to combat infant deaths in Michigan due to unsafe sleep environments.

Deaths due to unsafe sleep environments may previously have been categorized as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and they were believed to be unpreventable.

Advancements in investigations and a greater understanding of infant physiology, however, make it clear that many of these deaths are due to suffocation as a result of unsafe sleep environments and, as such, they are fully preventable.

These deaths are now referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).

To keep babies safe, parents and caregivers must:

– Never put the baby to sleep with adults or other children, as this practice exponentially increases the chance of a tragedy occurring.

– Put babies in cribs of their own, never on adult beds, pillows or couches.

– Ensure that the crib does not contain extraneous items, including pillows, crib bumpers and stuffed animals- and use a safe sleep sack instead of blankets.

– Place the baby to sleep on his/her back, not on the stomach or side.

– Not overheat the baby and make certain that no one smokes around the baby.

“We have come a long way in understanding how important a safe sleep environment is to an infant, but around 140 Michigan families are still dealing with the tragic consequences of losing a child each year,” said MDCH Director James K. Haveman. “Continued initiatives and support from our partners and community leaders are imperative to preventing these deaths and saving the lives of Michigan children.”

Safe Sleep Steps

– Baby should sleep alone in a crib, portable crib or bassinet.

– Always put baby on back to sleep even when he/she can roll over.

– No pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals or other soft things should be in the sleep area.

– Keep baby’s face uncovered during sleep for easy breathing. Use a sleeper instead of a blanket.

– Don’t allow anyone to smoke around the baby.

– Don’t overheat the baby. Dress the baby in as much or as little clothing as you are wearing.

– Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.

– Place baby in the same sleep position every time.

Is your baby’s crib safe? Below the Michigan Department of Human Services offers tips.

A safe crib has:

– A firm, tight-fitting mattress.

– No loose, missing or broken hardware or slats.

– No more than 2 3/8 inches between the slats (width of a soda can).

– No corner posts over 1/16 of an inch high.

– No cutout designs in the headboard or footboard.