LANSING, Mich. – September is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, and First Lady Sue Snyder and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are encouraging all parents and caregivers to implement safe sleep practices to help eliminate sleep-related infant deaths in Michigan.
“As a state, we need to do everything we can to reduce preventable infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep environments,” Sue Snyder said. “I am committed to promoting heightened awareness and ongoing progress in educating parents, caregivers and health professionals on how to keep these tragic deaths from occurring now and in the future.”
A baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan due to unsafe sleep. Infants can suffocate quickly and quietly if they are in an unsafe sleep environment – such as sleeping with parents or siblings or with pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Unfortunately, some parents and caregivers find out too late.
“It takes a network – parents, grandparents and other caregivers – to help prevent a tragedy and keep Michigan babies healthy and safe,” said Nick Lyon, MDHHS director. “We strongly encourage everyone to know and follow the safe sleep guidelines for all sleep times.”
To prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to your family, follow the below guidelines to protect babies during nightly sleep and naps:
- Always place baby on the back for every sleep time.
- Baby should sleep in his or her own crib, bassinet or pack-n-play – it is not safe to share a bed with baby.
- The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing). Ideally, infants should room-share for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.
- Use a firm mattress, covered with a fitted sheet, in a crib, bassinet or pack-n-play – nothing added between the sheet and mattress.
- Keep soft objects and bedding out of the crib (no pillows, comforters, blankets, stuffed toys, bumper pads, or other objects).
- If baby falls asleep in any place other than a crib, bassinet or pack-n-play, including after feeding, move him or her to a safe sleep space.
- Keep baby’s space smoke-free.
- Breastfeeding is encouraged as it is associated with lower infant death rates.
- Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bed time (once breastfeeding is well-established).
- Encourage “tummy time”; it’s important to practice supervised tummy time while baby is awake to build strong neck and shoulder muscles.
- Make sure everyone caring for baby knows how to keep baby safe while sleeping, including babysitters, friends and family members.