House Call: Infant Safe Sleep Month

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 6:11 PM EDT
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There are approximately 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year. Recommended safe sleep practices include eliminating hazards, such as keeping blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of the sleeping area. Lee Ann Romeo, RNC, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, explains why safe sleep is so important during Safe Sleep Month.

1). What do we know about safe sleep?

We know that…

22% or 1 in 5 mothers reported not placing their baby on his or her back to sleep, as recommended.

39% or 2 in 5 mothers reported using soft bedding (not recommended) when placing babies to sleep.

We also know that…

Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides. The problem with the side position is that the baby can roll more easily onto the stomach. If a baby spits up while sleeping on their stomach the contents of the spit are more likely to go into the trachea or windpipe. If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or sling, you should move him or her to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket. In general, your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing.

Using a pacifier at naptime and bedtime can reduce the risk of SIDS, even if it falls out after the baby is asleep. If you are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is going well before offering a pacifier.

Most importantly, never smoke around your baby or allow anyone else to smoke around your baby.

2). Lee Ann, as a healthcare provider, what would you recommend parents do in order to prevent an infant from a sleep-related death?

Statistics show that infants are nine times more likely to die from accidental suffocation than an 18 years old is to die from a car crash. In WV a healthy infant dies about every 10 days from unsafe sleep practices.

Very simply - Just remember A-B-C’s for baby safe sleep:

A baby always sleeps Alone- on their Back- in a Crib or bassinet

No soft bedding- stuffed toys- bumper pads in the bed and never sleep with your baby in your bed.

3). What should a safe crib look like?


• Babies being placed to sleep or sleeping on their backs.

• Cribs, portable play yards and bassinets that meet current safety standards and are free from any soft bedding items, i.e., blankets, quilts, bumper pads and stuffed animals or toys. Bassinets should not have padded sides.

• Babies sleeping ALONE; not with a parent, other adult, child or pet.

• Mattresses that fit snugly in the crib, play yard or bassinet, covered with only a fitted sheet.

• Crib mattresses at the lowest level for babies old enough to pull up or stand.


Babies sleeping in positioners or on wedges.

Babies sleeping on any surface other than a firm mattress, including a parent’s chest, adult bed, sofa, chair, pillow or other unsafe place.

Babies sleeping in car seats, swings, bouncy seats or similar products.

Cribs, play yards, and bassinets near windows, draperies or blind/shade cords.

Crib gyms or mobiles in photos of babies who appear to be older than five months.

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