(Lumberton, NC) -Southeastern Regional Medical Center and the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation (NCHSF) will partner to distribute onesies, nightlights and parent checklists with infant safe sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk reduction messages in conjunction with National SIDS Awareness Month. The front side of the onesies have the message, "This side up when sleeping" in English and Spanish indicating that the infant should be placed on his/her back. The nightlight has the ABC's of infant safe sleep; "Babies sleep safest Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib." Also included are English/Spanish checklists for parents to use once they bring their baby home to make sure they know all of the proper steps to take to keep their baby safe while sleeping.
SIDS is one of the leading causes of infant death in North Carolina. In 2010, SIDS accounted for 53 deaths in children under age one. In addition to SIDS deaths, many babies die from accidental suffocation, asphyxiation or entrapment while sleeping. These preventable deaths are often related to babies being placed in unsafe sleep environments, with excess bedding or toys or from parents sharing a bed with their babies. Many parents do not follow all of the necessary safe sleep recommendations of putting their infant to sleep alone in a crib or bassinet, within arm's reach of the parents or caregivers bed.
NCHSF has coordinated the Infant Safe Sleep Campaign (formerly the Back to Sleep Campaign) since 1994. The campaign informs families, childcare providers, health and social service providers and policy makers about this leading cause of infant death and about steps they can take to help protect infants.
In October 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a revised policy for infant safe sleep which made updated recommendations, including:
- Breastfeed if possible. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
- Get immunized. Recent studies suggest that proper immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
- No crib bumper pads. Bumper pads increase a baby's risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment and there is no evidence that they prevent injuries.
- Keep babies at a comfortable temperature. AAP no longer provides specific temperature guidelines. To avoid overheating, a risk factor for SIDS, infants should be dressed in no more than one additional layer than would be comfortable for an adult.
"We are thrilled that new parents will leave Southeastern with the most current information to help their babies sleep safely once they get home," stated Kim Shilling, Nursery Shift Supervisor for Southeastern. "The materials not only reinforce the infant safe sleep and SIDS risk reduction messages we provide parents but it also gives them tools to educate other caregivers of their baby."
The North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation has been collaborating with hospitals across the state to distribute educational materials during SIDS Awareness month since 2007. The hospital initiative has provided resources to more than 53 hospitals to evaluate and support hospitals' policy, practice and education regarding infant safe sleep. This year, more than babies are expected to leave hospitals with the infant safe sleep materials. For more information about baby's safe sleep visit www.NCHealthyStart.org or call 919.828.1819.
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