TOPEKA -- The holidays are a time for enjoying family and making memories. They also often entail travel, spending nights away from home, and temporary child care arrangements. Always be mindful of any change in your baby’s routine or sleep arrangements.
On average 42 babies die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) every year in Kansas. Although the cause of SIDS is unknown there are risk factors that can be avoided; thus, maintaining consistent sleep patterns is important.
Infant deaths as a result of unsafe sleep practices are preventable. Avoid such tragedies and reduce the risk of unintentional suffocation and SIDS by ensuring your baby has a safe place to sleep, even during naps. Safe sleep means placing babies on their back to sleep in a crib with no blankets, pillows, toys, or other soft items that could cause suffocation. Placing infants to sleep on their stomach increases the risk of SIDS. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an infant normally placed to sleep on his back, who is then placed to sleep on his stomach, is as much as 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.
Other safe sleep tips for parents and caregivers:
If you plan to stay with family or friends during the holidays, remember to take a portable crib. Do not resort to placing your baby on a couch or adult bed. A baby’s chance of dying is 40 times greater when sleeping in an adult bed rather than a safe crib.
Do not place your baby in a car seat, swing, or other such items to sleep.
Do not overheat babies; keep temperatures and clothing at levels comfortable for adults.
Avoid co-sleeping with adults who have been smoking or using medications, alcohol or illicit drugs; the safest place for baby to sleep is in a safe crib beside the adult bed.
Do not place baby to sleep with other children.
Do not allow smoking around your baby, especially in a house or vehicle.
Be sure your baby is within hearing distance at all times. Visually check on your sleeping baby and do not rely solely on a baby monitor.
Many child care providers take vacation and close over the holidays; therefore, you may need to put your baby in the temporary care of another child care provider, relative, or friend. It is critical to communicate with anyone taking care of your baby about the importance of safe sleep practices. Approximately 20 percent of SIDS deaths in the U.S. occur while the infant is in the care of a non-parental caregiver. Therefore, this discussion should take place before the first day the infant is cared for and should be emphasized on a regular basis. Talk to your child’s caregiver, tell him/her the safest place for your baby is on his or her back in a crib and communicate your infant’s normal sleeping patterns. To learn more about talking with your caregiver about safe child care practices and caring for your baby, visit www.kdheks.gov/safekids/child_care.htm.
Child care homes and child care centers must be licensed or registered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to care for unrelated children. Ask to see the license or certificate so you know the maximum number of children that may be cared for. You may also contact the Department of Health and Environment, Child Care Licensing and Registration Program at 785.296.1270 or firstname.lastname@example.org to check the licensing status and compliance history of a child care provider.
By taking these simple steps, parents and caregivers can reduce the risks associated with SIDS and unintentional suffocation. For more information on SIDS, call the SIDS Network of Kansas at 1-866-399-7437 or visit them online at www.sidsks.org. Safe sleep practices can prevent suffocation and reduce the risks associated with SIDS.