MILWAUKEE (10/8/2009) - October is SIDS Awareness Month
Although the national incidence of sudden infant death syndrome has declined by 50 percent over the past 10 years, there still is significant room for improvement in Wisconsin as well as throughout the nation. To increase public awareness and promote the avoidance of behaviors known to increase the risk of SIDS, Governor Jim Doyle has declared October to be SIDS Awareness Month in Wisconsin.
SIDS continues to be the leading cause of death in infants younger than 1 year old. Each year in the U.S. approximately 2,000 infants die as a result of SIDS. There is research being done to understand what causes SIDS and to identify risk factors. At this time the cause(s) is unknown and it is not possible to predict which infants might die of SIDS, but strategies have been identified that parents can use to reduce the risk of their baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly.
"We know we can reduce the number of babies dying, but to do so everyone who cares for a baby needs to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations every time," said Anne Harvieux,
program administrator, Infant Death Center of Wisconsin.
- Place babies to sleep on their backs for naps and bedtime.
- Have babies sleep in properly assembled baby cribs or portable play yards in the parent's bedroom or nearby. Babies should not sleep in the same bed as their parent(s) or siblings.
- Parents should check and double check assembled cribs to assure all parts are present and installed correctly.
- Use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
- Consider using a one-piece sleeper or other sleep clothing instead of blankets.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects can be a hazard to a baby.
- Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. The pacifier should be used when placing infant down for sleep and should not be reinserted once the infant falls asleep. It should not be coated with a sweet solution, and it should be cleaned often and replaced regularly. To establish a breastfeeding routine wait until the baby is one month old to offer the pacifier.
- Don't expose babies to smoke either before or after birth.
- No one should sleep with a baby on a couch or in a chair.
- When awake, put babies on their tummies for periods of time with a responsible person in attendance.
- Avoid having a baby spend long periods of time in car seat carrier or "bouncer."
- Make sure all who care for babies (child care provider, relative, friend, babysitter) use these safe sleep recommendations.
Friends and family members of expectant parents also can help create a safe sleep environment by giving gifts like one-piece sleepers, pacifiers, cribs that meet federal safety standards with firm mattresses that fit the crib and fitted sheets for the mattress. Other gifts to support a safe environment include: cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers, smoke alarms and batteries. Do not give the following as they can be hazardous for babies: stuffed toys, comforters, quilts, heavy blankets, bumper pads, sheepskins, baby pillows and baby wedges.
The Infant Death Center of Wisconsin provides bereavement support to families who experience a sudden and unexpected infant death. For more information on regional offices or other information about sudden and unexpected infant death, visit idcw.org, chhsblog.com/2009/10/safe-sleep-for-babies or call (414) 266-2743.
The Infant Death Center of Wisconsin is funded by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, a MCH Title V Services Block Grant, through the Maternal Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and private donations.