29 Jan “BACK TO SLEEP” RENAMED “SAFE TO SLEEP”
The topic of safe sleep has been in the news a great deal lately. We decided to gather the most current information to pass on to our families. As child care providers it is critical that we are aware of the latest information on what constitutes safe sleep. We not only need to follow these practices in our centers, but we can be a valuable resource to you as parents about safe sleep practices you should use at home.
To research the topic we turned to Kathleen Fernbach, the director of the MN SID center which is a part of Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota. Kathleen has directed the center since its inception in 1978 and is passionate about providing accurate information to parents, child care providers and people in the medical field. You can contact her at 612 813-6285. The SID website is also a valuable resource that you can use to obtain updated information: www.childrenmn.org/sidcenter
Kathleen explained that the SID center provides training and support for issues surrounding all Sudden Infant Deaths, not only SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). There is good news that the Back to Sleep campaign started in 1998 to raise awareness that placing infants on their backs to sleep reduces the risk of SIDS has been very successful. Since then, the U.S. SIDS rate has dropped by more than 50% overall and the percentage of infants placed on their backs to sleep has more than tripled.
Less encouraging is that the number of sleep-related deaths that aren’t from SIDS has risen sharply in the past decade. The rates for suffocation, strangulation, entrapment and asphyxia have increased, often resulting from unsafe sleep environments for infants. It has become increasingly important to address these other sleep-related deaths. In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics expanded its recommendations from focusing only on SIDS to focusing on a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS. The Back to Sleep campaign has been renamed the Safe to Sleep campaign to account for the broader focus. Here is a summary of the new guidelines for infants up to 12 months.
- Infants should be placed on their backs to sleep.
- Infants should sleep in a safety-approved crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet.
- Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep at home or in the hospital, particularly for young infants.
- Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended.
- Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and other soft surfaces are hazardous when placed under the infant or loose in the sleep environment.
- Pregnant women should seek and obtain regular prenatal care.
- Smoking during pregnancy, in the pregnant woman’s work environment, and in the infant’s environment should be avoided.
- Avoid illicit drug use during pregnancy and after the infant’s birth.
- If a breastfeeding mother brings the infant into the adult bed for nursing, the infant should be returned to a separate sleep surface when the mother is ready for sleep.
- Consider offering a pacifier at nap and bedtime.
- Avoid overheating and head covering infants.
For the online article that gives detailed explanations of these guidelines, go to http://pediatrics.aapublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2285