Every week in Ohio, three babies die in unsafe sleep environments. That may not sound like a high number, but to put that into perspective, sleep related deaths outnumber deaths of Ohio children of all ages from car crashes. These sleep related deaths are those that happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Causes include SIDS, accidental suffocation, falls, positional asphyxia, overlay, and undetermined causes.
The Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) at the Meigs County Health Department is working to combat this problem by conducting a Cribs for Kids program and by educating families on the safe sleep recommendations.
The Meigs County Health Department became an official Cribs for Kids site in 2014. Since then, we have been able to provide safe sleep education and a Pack ‘N Play to many local families who, for different reasons, did not have a safe sleep space for their new baby. For example, if a family cannot afford a safe place for their baby to sleep, or they have an old drop-side crib (which should not be used) we can help provide a crib if the family qualifies.
The infant safe sleep tips are as follows: The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed. Never place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, cushions or soft surfaces. Dress your baby in sleep clothing, such as a sleep sack, and do not use a blanket. Avoid letting the baby get too hot. Keep room temperatures in a range comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations. Breastfeeding is recommended to help to reduce the risk of SIDS. Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth. Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free. Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development. Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bed time, once breastfeeding is well established. Talk to those who care for your baby, including child care providers, family, and friends, about placing your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep. Obtain regular prenatal care, and avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
For more information on the local Cribs for Kids Program, please call Juli Simpson, RN, at 740-992-6626, or visit the MCHD website at www.meigs-health.com.
Juli Simpson, is an RN with the Meigs County Health Department.