At the Infant Death Center of Wisconsin, a significant part of our job is to educate families about the importance of a safe sleep environment and what exactly that means: Infants should be placed alone, on their backs in a crib, bassinet or portable crib for every sleep time. If these safe sleep measures were practiced, the number of preventable infant deaths in our community would be greatly reduced.
When I ask new and expecting mothers, ‘Where does or will your baby sleep and why,’ I think I’ve heard just about every response you can imagine. Some believe babies actually die by being placed in the crib, so they want to keep the baby close and safe at night. Others talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and bonding with their bundle of joy. Oh, and yes, that old wives tale of “crib death” is still lurking in the shadows. They all seem to have their own set of rational justifications for co-sleeping. But for every justification by a parent, I can think of at least one case if not more in the medical examiners’ reports that sadly describes the same scenario.
It’s perfectly fine to have your baby sleep in the same room as you – as long as he or she sleeps alone in a crib, bassinet or portable crib. Please share this information with your friends, family and colleagues. These simple steps can save the life of a child.
More information about ensuring a safe sleep environment for babies can be found on our Web site at idcw.org.
–Vivian Jackson, community services coordinator, Infant Death Center of Wisconsin