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Good night, sleep tight: Safe infant sleep

Posted on Oct. 1, 2014 ( comments)
Mary Bridge Sleep Sack Baby
New parents receive lots of baby advice, some helpful and some not so helpful.  One parenting practice that can be particularly murky is safe infant sleep.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and suffocation during sleep are leading causes of death in infants, and share similar risk factors.  Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics has established proven strategies for reducing the risks of sleep-related infant deaths.

We're doing our part at MultiCare to send strong, clear messages to families in both what we say AND what we do to help keep infants safe while they sleep.

What do we say? 

  • Follow the ABC’s of Safe Infant Sleep — babies should always sleep Alone, on their Back in a Crib.  
  • No bed-sharing. Studies have shown a five-fold increase in SIDS when babies under 3 months sleep in an adult bed (even among breastfeeding, non-smoking families).  
  • Back to sleep, for every sleep. We’ve advocated for putting babies on their backs for sleep for 20 years, and that change alone cut SIDS rates in half.
  • Safe cribs have a flat, firm mattress and well-fitted crib sheet. They are free of soft items like bumpers, pillows, loose blankets or toys.
  • Make sure cribs meets federal safety standards, last updated in 2011.

In recognition of SIDS awareness month, babies born at Tacoma General or Auburn Medical Center's Family Birth Centers in October will receive a free sleep sack from the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety.

What do we do? 

Practice what we preach!  MultiCare has improved our modeling of safe infant sleep practices, to show parents how their babies should be sleeping at home.  We are clearing our cribs of unnecessary soft items, and many of our departments have transitioned from swaddling blankets to sleep sacks — wearable blankets that keep baby both safe and snug.  New crib cards are attached to our bassinets and cribs, reminding all caregivers of SIDS risk-reduction recommendations.  

The Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety promotes safe infant sleep both in the hospital and in the community.  They provide giveaway items for MultiCare birth centers to share with new families — which might include a free board book with safe sleep messaging, or a free sleep sack.  Our health educators also support local community groups, providing safe sleep education and support for crib distribution programs for low-income families.  

For more information about safe sleep for infants, visit the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety website or call the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety at 253-403-1234.   
Posted in: Kids' Health

About The Author

Erin Summa Erin Summa, MPH
Erin Summa is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety.
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