Practice safe sleep at home and everywhere

October 2, 2018

Practicing Safe Sleep for Babies

As a parent or caregiver, you may have heard about Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). One of the main causes of SUID is accidental suffocation while a baby is sleeping in an unsafe environment, such as a couch or a caregiver’s bed. Parents and caregivers can take simple steps to reduce the risk of SUID and provide safe sleep for babies.

In Colorado, approximately 50* infants die suddenly or unexpectedly each year while they sleep. Most of these infant sleep-related deaths are preventable.

October is SUIDS Awareness month, and we’re sharing tips for parents and caregivers to help reduce the risk of SUIDS and sleep-related infant deaths. We'll also be sharing content about safe sleep for babies and what that means today.

Maybe you are familiar with creating a safe sleep environment, but you need some advice on how to talk to your loved ones. Or maybe you need some pointers on how to make sure your baby is sleeping safe at child care and how to talk to you care provider. We are here to help you and your baby sleep peacefully.

Practice safe sleep for babies at home and everywhere:

1. Practice the ABC’s of safe sleep everywhere your baby goes. Infants should be ALONE, placed on their BACKS and in a CRIB.  Be sure to place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—for naps and nighttime sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SUID than babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs.

2. Create a safe sleep space for your baby. The only things that should be present in a crib are a firm mattress, a fitted sheet and a sleeping baby. Bumpers, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, bibs and clip-on pacifiers are unsafe for sleep and should not be allowed in the crib. Instead of sleeping blankets, infants should sleep in sleep sacks that do not confine their arms. Keep the room at a temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Check infants to ensure they are not overheated or sweaty.

3. Move sleeping babies to a safe sleep space. If an infant falls asleep anywhere other than a crib, they should be quickly moved to a crib and placed on their back. Share your room with the baby, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or in a car seat. All of these environments put a baby at risk for SUID. Accidental suffocation can happen when a baby is sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment.

4. Protect your baby from second and third hand smoke (third hand smoke is nicotine left on clothing or other items after a person smokes). Smoke is a major risk factor for SUID.

5. Talk to your child care provider about safe sleep. Whether you are searching for a new child care provider or talking to your current provider, it is important to discuss safe sleep practices for your baby. Ask questions like, ‘May I see where my baby will sleep?’ and ‘How will my baby be positioned when they sleep?’ Colorado Shines provides a complete list of questions to ask and a checklist for baby’s first day in child care. Licensed child care providers are required to practice safe sleep and have a safe sleep policy. Search Colorado Shine’s Licensed Child Care database to find out if your child care provider is licensed.

Learn more about safe sleep for infants to learn more about how to practice safe sleep with your baby and reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths. 

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Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.