In 2014, nearly one-in-five infant deaths in Idaho were due to SUID or SIDS. While some SUID and SIDS deaths cannot be explained, many occur while an infant is sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment. These deaths are preventable by following a few key recommendations from the Academy of Pediatrics. The primary message for parents and others who care for infants is to remember the “ABC’s of Safe Sleep”:
- "A" is for Alone: Always let the infant sleep alone and never in a bed with another person.
- "B" is for on the infant's Back: An infant should be placed to sleep on his or her back, not on his or her side or stomach (unless otherwise directed by the infant's healthcare provider).
- "C" is for Crib: Always put the infant to sleep in a crib with only a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet. The crib should be free of bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals.
In addition to the ABC’s, you can help reduce the risk of sleep-related death by following these tips:
- Don’t let the infant sleep or nap in the same bed with anyone else — even sisters, brothers, or babysitters. Another person, no matter how small, could roll over and smother the infant.
- Place the infant on a firm sleep surface. Use a safety-approved crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet. Never place an infant to sleep on a pillow, quilt, sheepskin or other soft surface.
- Keep loose objects, soft toys and bedding out of the infant's sleep area as these can pose suffocation hazards. You can dress the infant in warm pajamas or a sleep sack, and put the infant to sleep without a blanket.
- Don’t let the infant sleep on the couch or in an armchair. The infant could get stuck between cushions or pillows and suffocate.
- Keep the infant from overheating during the night. The infant should be dressed lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
- Do not use crib bumpers. These do not reduce injuries and can cause suffocation.
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy and don’t expose the infant to secondhand smoke after birth.
- Breastfeed infants. Breastfeeding has shown to have many health benefits for infants and has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. But even breastfeeding moms should keep the infant in their own crib.
- Give the infant plenty of time on their tummy when the infant is awake and an adult is watching
Be sure to discuss these safety tips with all your infant's caregivers, including babysitters, childcare providers, and grandparents.