06-22-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
It is natural to want your newborn or infant close to you at all times, including when you and your baby sleep. The scary reality, though, is each year 4,500 unexpected infant deaths occur with research showing 80 to 90 percent of those deaths related to unsafe sleep practices.
“A tragic sleep accident could happen to any family, so do everything possible to try to prevent one,” says Thomas Krzmarzick, MD, medical director of the Regional Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s.
Dr. Krzmarzick points out that while there is no single sleep space that can guarantee a baby will be risk-free, there are ways to reduce the risk.
Dayton Children’s and Dr. Krzmarzick remind you of the ABCs of safe sleep:
A – Alone. A baby should sleep alone. Never let your baby sleep with another child, adult or pet.
B – Back. A baby should sleep on his or her back – the safest position for a baby to sleep. Also, the baby should wear a one-piece sleeper to avoid other chances of suffocation or strangulation.
C – Crib. Do not allow your child to sleep on any other surface besides a crib.
“One of the most important things for parents and caregivers to remember is to be responsible for their baby’s sleep safety,” says Dr. Krzmarzick. He and other staff in the Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s have seen ﬁrsthand what can happen when babies share a sleep space with an adult.
Avoid these dangers:
- Do not let babies sleep on an adult bed, couch, chair, beanbag, waterbed, feather bed, futon or recliner.
- Do not let babies sleep with other children or pets.
- A baby should not be in bed with anyone who smokes, even if they don’t smoke in bed.
- A baby should not be in bed with anyone who has used alcohol, drugs, prescriptions or other medications. Any of these can lower a person’s ability to respond.
- A baby should not be in bed with someone who is overly tired, ill or does not wake easily.
- Babies should not be in bed with someone who is obese.
- Babies should not be in bed with someone who has long hair that is not tied up.
Caregivers also need to know and agree to follow your baby’s sleep rules.
Everyone who cares for your baby must know all of the sleep rules you follow in the normal care of your baby. If a caregiver does not want to follow those rules, you should ﬁnd another caregiver.
Your caregiver should provide a safe sleep space for your baby that is free of people, objects or pets that could cover your baby’s nose or mouth and not allow the baby to move or breathe.
“As an emergency room physician, I see ﬁrsthand the devastating effects of unsafe sleep practices, says Dr. Krzmarzick. “We strongly recommend that infants do not co-bed.”
If you have questions about safe sleep, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor or visit childrensdayton.org for more information.
The sleep center team at Dayton Children’s is dedicated to helping children with sleep-related problems improve the quality of their sleep and their overall health. For more information on the sleep clinic, visit the Dayton Children's sleep center main page.
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