Recently, there have been a lot of TV programs and newspaper stories discussing infant safe sleep, especially the debate about co-sleeping. Despite much research, we still aren’t sure why some babies die during co-sleeping and others don’t. Every infant death is tragic and involves a unique set of circumstances.
Here’s what we do know: between 2005 and 2008, 88 babies in the Milwaukee area died from accidental overlay, suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome. These cases involved boys and girls of all …Continue reading this post
Learn the ABCs of safe sleep
There is nothing more innocent than a sleeping baby. There is nothing more tragic than a baby who dies in his or her sleep. Fortunately, research shows that many of these deaths can be prevented.
As a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, I see the good and the bad. I see smiling babies toddling down our hallways and giggling infants squealing with delight. But, I also see families whose lives changed forever because of the death of an infant.
While I am a doctor, my most important title in life is “dad” to a 7-year-old son. I simply cannot imagine life without him. When he was a baby, my wife and I took extra precautions to put him in a safe sleep environment. It wasn’t always easy. We were tired. Sometimes, we were downright exhausted. But, it was our job to protect him.
Taking our cue from the American Academy of Pediatrics, we used three easy-to-remember steps to help maintain a safe sleep environment for my son when he was an infant:
- A: Babies always should sleep alone. Sleeping with your baby in your bed, on a couch or in a chair is not safe.
- C: Babies should sleep in a crib. Make sure there are no bumper pads, toys or other items in the crib.
Download Children’s Hospital’s safe sleep flier, post it in your child’s nursery and share it with a friend.
~ Jason Jarzembowski, MD, PhD, is the program director of perinatal pathology at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the medical advisor for the Infant Death Center of Wisconsin.
Several times a week, we find ourselves sitting in meetings discussing the best way to keep babies safe while sleeping. At Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin one of our initiatives focuses on injury prevention and death review. Additionally, we provide grief and bereavement services for families who have experienced the unexpected death of an infant. Our work keeps us motivated to find ways to keep babies safe and parents well rested!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents follow the ABC’s of safe sleep.
Sometimes, babies can’t fall asleep on their own or wake up frequently at night, which can make parents very tired and cranky. Parents can try the following tips to help baby fall and stay asleep.
Keep bedtime and naptime routines the same every day.
- Keep things quiet for 1 hour before bedtime.
- Soft lighting helps baby get sleepy.
- Babies like to hear a quiet story or song before bedtime.
- Cuddle and rock baby gently before bedtime.
- Most babies sleep well after a feeding and/or a bath.
- Gently rub baby’s arms and legs.
Consider using a pacifier when you place baby on his/her back for sleep. If baby is breastfed, wait until she is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier. If baby spits out the pacifier after falling asleep, you do not need to put it back in her mouth.
If baby is only fussing wait a minute to make sure baby is actually awake. Some babies fuss a bit during sleep but will quickly settle down.
If baby wakes up and cries, go to him or her as quickly as possible. Calming the baby down quickly should help the baby go back to sleep. Try not to play with baby during the night when s/he wakes up. Keep play time during daytime hours.
Hold and feed baby if s/he is hungry, and comfort him or her before placing on their back to sleep in their own crib or bassinet. In the early weeks and months of life, babies need to be fed often. The time between night feedings should increase as babies grow bigger and begin to sleep for longer periods of time at night.
For more information about safe sleep visit Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.
~Abby Collier, MS, project manager, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
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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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.
…Continue reading →