Safe to Sleep: Educating Parents On SIDS & SIDS Prevention
Did you know that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between the ages of one month and one year old? SIDS is known by many names, including “crib death” and “cot death,” as most babies die in such places during their sleep. Although the cause is unknown, there are SIDS prevention measures parents can take to reduce a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
What Is Safe to Sleep?
Safe to Sleep, formerly known as Back to Sleep, is a campaign launched by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in 1994 as a way to bring public attention to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and to educate parents and caregivers on ways to reduce a child’s exposure to SIDS risk factors.
In collaboration with the AAP, First Candle (formerly known as the SIDS Alliance), the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the NICHD began distributing marketing materials to organizations and hospitals, stressing the importance of placing babies to sleep on their backs. Over the next few years, brands like Gerber, Pampers and Johnson & Johnson endorsed the Safe to Sleep campaign by including marketing materials in their product packaging.
Since its launch, the NICHD has continued to update its marketing materials to reflect the findings of new research and recommendations made by governing organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
In 2005, the AAP revised its policy statement about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, reinforcing the importance of the back sleep position and noting that a firm sleep surface, separate from that of the parents, with no loose bedding or blankets is safest place for a baby to sleep. The recommendation also warned against letting baby get too warm during sleep and suggest using a pacifier to help reduce SIDS risk factors.
The Safe to Sleep campaign and its educational programs have been implemented across the country, providing parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, child care providers and health care providers with the tools and resources to understand the importance of safe sleep. Since the Safe to Sleep campaign began in 1994, SIDS rates in the US have dropped significantly and thousands of infant lives have been saved.
How To Reduce Your Baby’s Risk of SIDS
Although the number of SIDS-related deaths declined after the launch of the Safe to Sleep campaign in the early 1990s, we haven’t seen as significant of a decline in recent years. In 2016, the AAP issued updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment, encouraging parents to keep their baby in the same room, but not in the same bed, for the first year of their baby’s life which is the age SIDS most commonly occurs.
Here’s how you can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, according to the AAP’s recommendations:
- Always place your infant on his or her back to sleep until he or she reaches one year of age. Side sleeping is not advised.
- Infants should always be placed on a firm sleep surface (i.e. mattress in a safety-approved crib) covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects.
- Following the AAP’s recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (or bottle feeding using only breast milk, not formula) has been shown to reduce a child’s risk of SIDS.
- Have your baby sleep in your room, close to your bed, but on a separate surface designed for babies, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first 6 months.
- Keep your baby’s sleep environment free from loose or soft objects like blankets, toys and pillows to prevent suffocation, entrapment and strangulation.
Delta Children’s Commitment to Safe Sleep
Since Delta Children was founded in 1968, we have been devoted to finding a safe place for every baby to sleep. We work to fulfill this mission by manufacturing the safest products for babies and children and donating product to children in unsafe environments.
In 2012, we formalized our commitment to these efforts by establishing "The Safe Sleep Campaign.” Today, we are proud to continue this nationwide effort to educate parents on the importance of creating safe sleep conditions for their children, backed with a commitment to donate product to families in need. For every Delta Children product purchased, a portion of the proceeds goes towards building a safe sleep environment for children around the world. We’ve donated more than $4 million worth of product since the launch of the Safe Sleep Campaign in 2012.
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