Every five days, an infant in Kentucky dies due to a sleep-related risk factor, according to Safe Sleep Kentucky.
Risk factors range from babies sleeping on their stomachs to sleeping on soft surfaces such as a couch or chair to sleeping in a bed with a parent to sleeping on or under soft or loose bedding. All put a child at greater risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and in 2013, nine out of 10 children who died from SIDS in Kentucky had at least one unsafe sleep factor.
Additionally, infant death from unsafe sleep is 70 times more likely than death from a motor vehicle collision and in 2013; bed sharing – which is fully preventable – was involved in half of all infant sleep-related deaths in Kentucky.
So Safe Sleep Kentucky recommends using the ABCs of safe sleep.
A is for alone – share the room, not the bed. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Sleeping with another person is dangerous for babies.
A baby should always sleep alone in its own crib, bassinet, or play yard.
B is for Back. Whether at night or during naptime, a baby should always sleep on their back on a firm mattress in a crib or play yard. It is not safe to place babies on their stomach or side to sleep. Make sure all caregivers know back to sleep is best.
C is for crib. A firm mattress in a crib, bassinet, or play yard should be free of toys, pillows, blankets or bumper pads that can suffocate a baby.
The most common sleep-related risk factor identified was placing an infant on a surface not designed for infant sleep such as a couch, swing, adult bed or on an adult’s chest while lying down. These are not designed for a baby and can cause a child to suffocate.
D is for danger. Be aware, not impaired. Drinking and drug use impair your ability to care for a baby, making bed sharing and other unsafe sleep even more dangerous for the baby. Also, avoid smoking around your baby. Secondhand smoke weakens babies’ lungs and can increase the risk of SIDS.
The ABCs of safe infant sleep make sense, are simple and easy to remember. Learn them, use them. Safeguard your baby’s sleep.