Ministry of Health promotes awareness of safe infant sleep

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – October is Safe Infant Sleep Awareness Month and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is promoting healthy sleep habits for newborns and raising awareness of sleep risks for infants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,400 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States. Although overall rates of sudden unexpected infant death have declined since 1990, these deaths are still present and accounted for 3.82% of all infant deaths in Lucas County from 2010 to 2020. Of the 498 infant deaths in during this period, 63 were the result of sudden unexpected infant death syndrome (SUID) or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

SUID describes the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than a year old, the cause of which was not obvious. These deaths often occur during sleep or in the baby’s sleeping area.

SIDS is accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment and other deaths from unknown causes.

The health department said prevention is simple. People should use the ABC, which stands for alone, back and cradles (empty) to make sure the baby is put on their back for all naps and at night.

Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die suddenly and unexpectedly than babies who sleep on their stomachs or their sides.

The department recommends using a flat, firm sleeping surface for baby to lie on, never sleeping with baby under any circumstances, keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of baby’s sleeping area, and instead of sharing the bed, share the room with baby for at least the first six months to reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.

The Health Department‘s Cribs for Kids program offers free online safe sleep education to all families expecting or with children under the age of one. After receiving a Safe Sleep Ambassador certificate from the program, families will receive a free Cribette, pack-n-play, with additional safe sleep education and a 30-day post-assessment assessment to ensure the family is practicing a safe sleep for baby.

The health department’s goal is to reduce infant mortality from SUID and SIDS by promoting safe infant sleep. For more information on safe baby sleep education and materials, call (419) 213-4128.

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