I am a registered nurse at the Meigs County Health Department and the director for the Child & Family Health Services grant, which aims to improve the health status of women, infants and children in Ohio.
Infant mortality is a major concern across Ohio, and Meigs County is no different.
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 CFHS program is working to help combat this problem by conducting a community education campaign for the infant safe sleep message. This campaign includes a variety of different types of activities, such as safe sleep classes for families and presentations, social media posts, public service announcements, community events and billboards, and targets expecting families and families with young infants to help educate them on ways to reduce risk.
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.
If a family cannot afford a safe place for their baby to sleep, the MCHD also can help families locate a crib if they qualify.
For more information on the CFHS program or local safe sleep efforts and activities, call me at 740-992-6626, or visit the MCHD website at www.meigs-health.com.
Juli Simpson is a registered nurse at the Meigs County Health Department.
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