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LACASA Offers Safe Sleep Programs

CAP Infant Safe Sleep

Learn the ABCs of keeping infants safe

Livingston County agencies, including LACASA Center, are collaborating to prevent sleep-related infant deaths.

The Livingston County Department of Public Health, LACASA’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council, and Safe Kids Huron Valley all strive to create awareness about Safe Sleep practices. These groups conduct workshops and awareness programs that teach new parents and infant caregivers how to eliminate the risk of preventable sleep-related infant deaths. 

“Unfortunately, 100% of sleep-related infant deaths in Livingston County occurred in an unsafe sleep location such as an adult bed, couch, chair, or swing at the time of death compared to 73% of sleep-related infant deaths in Michigan,” said Elaine Brown, deputy health officer for the Livingston County Department of Public Health.

“In Livingston County, 80% of those deaths involved an infant sleeping with another person at the time of death,” Brown said. “In 80% of the cases, the infant was found unresponsive in a position other than on their backs. This is compared to 56% and 53% of infant sleep-related deaths, respectively, in Michigan.”  

“It takes only a few seconds to put a baby into an empty crib on its back for safe sleeping, but those few seconds are so important. Just remember to always follow your A-B-Cs,” said Brown, “and you might save a life.”

The easy-to-remember ABCs of Safe Sleep state that babies should sleep:  CAP sleep-infant-crib

      • Alone
      • On their Back
      • In a Crib, portable crib or bassinet

More in-depth information is provided to new parents during visits to the Department of Public Health. The department also provides Nurses Welcome Newborns visits where nurses spend time with new parents at home once the family leaves the hospital.

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 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

LACASA’s CAP Council provides free workshops at middle schools and high schools across the county to teach adolescents about preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and sleep-related infant death.

CAP Baby In crib on back“Our Infant Safety workshop ties in perfectly with the curricula for classes kids are taking, like life skills, child development and health,” said Deanna Norris, LACASA’s CAP Council director.

“We feel it’s critical to begin the education long before these kids become parents so the message is ingrained,” Norris said. “We also recognize that many of these students are babysitting or caring for younger siblings already, making the message that much more imperative.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one in five deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome occurs 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.

CAP infant safetyIn addition to information about what makes a Safe Sleep environment, 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

Safe Kids Huron Valley, coordinated by Amber Kroeker, injury prevention health educator with the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital, is dedicated to preventing accidental injury and death.

“There are lots of things beyond our control in life. Let’s be sure we’re controlling the things we can,” said Kroeker. “Practicing safe sleep EVERY time will reduce the risk of accidental suffocation and death for your infant. We are working to educate families, even before they leave the hospital, on the importance of safe sleep.”

For more information about Safe Sleep for infants, parents may 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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