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September is Infant Safe Sleep Month

CAP sleep-infant-crib

Classes Available for Parents, Child Caregivers

September is Safe Sleep Month in Michigan

September is “Safe Sleep Month” in Michigan and LACASA Center’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council and the Livingston County Department of Public Health are working to raise awareness about infant safe sleep practices.

“We want to make sure that everyone in Livingston County knows how to create the safest sleep environment for the infant in their care,” said Holly Naylor, LACASA’s CAP Council Coordinator.

“It is critical for the public to know that a baby must always be put to sleep alone, on their back, and in their own crib or bassinet,” Naylor said. “We encourage parents and child caregivers to attend one of our monthly Baby B Safe classes to learn about safe infant sleep practices.”

To commemorate Safe Sleep Month this year, the CAP Council will have safe sleep displays up at several locations in the community, including at area libraries and at LESA in Howell. A display is permanently available at the Department of Public Health. 

 “Although we have made great strides in reducing the number of preventable infant deaths in Michigan, more work remains,” said Elaine Brown, Deputy Health Officer and Personal/Preventive Health Services Director for the Livingston County Department of Public Health.

“Between 2010 and 2014, 712 Michigan infants died in unsafe sleep environments,” Brown said. “The loss of these babies to unsafe sleep environments is such a tragedy.”

CAP infant safetySleep-related infant death is the second leading cause of death among infants less than one year old in Michigan, according to Brown.

 “While there are a variety of factors that impact a caregiver’s daily choices regarding the child’s sleep environment, it is important that they know that sleep-related deaths are 100% preventable,” Brown said.

“The CAP Council knows that education is a critical step in the process of making sure babies in our community are safe,” said Naylor. “We want parents in Livingston County to have an opportunity to see what a safe sleep environment looks like.”

There also are other risk factors for sleep-related deaths that Naylor wants county residents to know about.

“Smoking is a risk factor, and we encourage anyone who smokes to avoid doing so during pregnancy or around infants and children,” Naylor said. Nearly 63 percent of the mothers of infants who died of sleep-related causes in Livingston County smoked during pregnancy, said Naylor, compared to 18 percent of mothers state-wide.

CAP Infant Safe SleepExpectant and new parents, as well as child caregivers, can learn about safe sleep and infant crying by attending CAP’s infant safety class. Classes are held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Department of Public Health.

“We know having an infant is hard work,” Naylor said. “Our Baby B Safe infant safety class is designed to teach parents not only about safe sleep, but also about why babies cry and how to safely cope with crying when you are frustrated or exhausted.” For more information about CAP’s infant safety class, call 517-548-1350.

Brown reminds parents to “Always follow the A-B-Cs: put baby to sleep alone, on his/her back, in an empty crib,” said Brown. “It’s also important to stress using the A-B-Cs to any relatives, friends, or babysitters caring for your child when you are not there to check the sleeping environment.”

Safe sleep steps recommended by the Department of Public Health can be found on the Michigan Department of Human Services website and include the following:

  • Baby should sleep alone in a crib, portable crib or bassinet
  • Always put baby on its back to sleep even when he/she can roll over
  • No pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, or other soft things (including bumper pads) should be in the sleep area
  • Keep baby’s face uncovered during sleep for easy breathing
  • Use a sleeper (or sleep sack) instead of a blanket
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke around the baby
  • Don’t overheat the baby; dress the baby in as much or as little clothing as you are wearing
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet
  • Place baby in the same sleep position every time

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one in five deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. For that reason, parents are urged not only to engage in safe sleep practices at home, but to share that information with everyone who cares for their baby.

In addition, it’s important for parents to understand how dangerous other sleeping situations can be. The Department of Human Services offers these warnings:

  • Babies are NOT safe sleeping on a couch, pillow or anything soft
  • Babies are NOT safe sleeping with other children, adults or pets
  • Babies are NOT safe sleeping in adult beds; if you feed your baby in bed, put your baby back into his/her crib to sleep

For more information about safe sleep for infants, contact the Livingston County Department of Public Health at 517-546-9850, or LACASA’s CAP Council at 517-548-1350.

CAP Infant Sleep Safety Chart

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