Safe sleep for babies

October is SIDS Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to review safe sleep practice for babies. Babies need to sleep safely and develop a healthy bond with their mothers. These two essential newborn needs must occur in the first months of an infant’s life, but they do not occur simultaneously.

How can a loving parent provide the safest possible sleep environment for that beautiful little infant? The most important advice has been repeated since 1992: Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. This has cut the number of infant deaths from sudden infant death syndrome in half.

Unfortunately, 50 percent of babies still are dying. A close look at the deaths has revealed that many of these babies who died were sleeping in unsafe places. We don’t know all of the answers to the question of why these babies die. But we do know the chance of death would have been reduced if those babies were placed to sleep in the way recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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