DPH’s Injury Prevention Program Promotes Safe Sleep Practices for Infants

September 30, 2015

The arrival of a new baby can be the source of love, inspiration, excitement and even anxiety for many parents. Among all the things parents think to protect their children from, one of the least suspected dangers is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS is when an otherwise healthy baby dies unexpectedly from unknown causes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that nearly 4,000 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States. As of 2013, in Georgia, three infants died each week due to SIDS and other sleep-related causes.

SIDS prevention practices are led nationwide by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Safe to Sleep campaign, a public health program that encourages safe sleep practices to reduce SIDS or other sleep-related deaths among infants. In Georgia, the Safe to Sleep campaign is administered by DPH’s Injury Prevention Program.

“Our goal is to address the barriers that prevent every baby from enjoying safe sleep,” said Terri Miller, Safe to Sleep coordinator, DPH Injury Prevention Program. “There are many factors that contribute to unsafe sleep environments, including overheating the baby, secondhand smoke or even soft toys that are used to comfort them. We want everyone to learn the simple steps they can take to eliminate these risks and help protect all of Georgia's babies."                                                

In promoting safe sleep practices, Miller recommends parents and caregivers learn the ABCs of safe sleep, as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Alone – Babies should sleep alone in their crib or bassinet. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but avoid sleeping in the same bed with the infant.  
  • Back – Babies should be placed on their back to sleep. Studies show that placing infants on their back for all sleep times, including naps and at night, can reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Crib – Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet that meets standards set forth by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The mattress should be firm and covered with a tight-fitting bottom sheet made specifically for the crib. No blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, toys or any objects should be in baby’s sleeping space.

To learn more about safe sleep practices, parents, caregivers and community members can visit NIH online for safe sleep environment diagrams and SIDS information. For more information on Georgia’s Safe to Sleep campaign, visit dph.georgia.gov/SafeToSleep.

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