Catawba County News
Catawba County Social Services Encourages Safe Sleep Practices for Babies
Published: October 20, 2022
Every year, around 130 babies in North Carolina and more than 3,500 across the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly while sleeping, according to SafeSleepNC.org. Although the problem is staggering, one solution rests firmly in the hands of parents and caregivers – making certain that you follow Safe Sleep practices.
As we celebrate Safe Sleep Awareness Month this October, Catawba County Social Services wants to encourage safe sleep practices. “We want to remind parents and caregivers of the critical role you play in ensuring your child’s safety,” notes Karen Harrington, Director, Social Services. “Since the majority of these deaths are associated with unsafe sleep environments, following a few simple rules every time you put a child down to rest will eliminate many risk factors.”
What exactly is safe sleep? The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new 2022 guidelines that reinforced the best practices the agency initially recommended in 2016. Simply put, the guidelines say that babies should sleep on their backs on a firm, non-inclined surface (a crib or pack n play), with nothing but baby, every time they sleep.
The guidelines are grounded in science. Infants who sleep on their backs are far less likely to choke or to be victims of SIDS than those who sleep on their stomachs or sides, according to SafeSleepNC.org. Bedding, pillows, crib bumpers and toys can suffocate an infant, while layers of blankets and hats can cause them to overheat. Sharing your bed with an infant is particularly dangerous, as exhausted parents can roll over on a child and soft bedding can be a hazard. That doesn’t mean that you have to sleep far from your baby. You can share your room by placing your baby’s safety-approved crib, pack ‘n’ play or bassinet in the same room with you. Likewise, don’t allow your child to fall asleep on a chair, couch, or on you, particularly when you are tired. Having another adult check on you or setting an alarm when you are doing a late-night feeding can help ensure that you don’t fall asleep and put your baby in a dangerous situation.
Also, be aware of evolving safety recommendations if you are stocking your nursery with second-hand items. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has new safety standards for infant sleep products, including baby nests or pods, baby tents and baby boxes that took effect on June 23, 2022, whereas cribs sold after June 28, 2011, meet current safety standards, according to SafeSleepNC.org.
For more information and detailed guidelines, visit https://safesleepnc.org.