Media Release: Unsafe sleep practices continue to take young lives

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Dayton Children’s sees sleep-related infant death every 6 weeks

Unsafe sleep practices continue to take young lives

08-20-2013 (Dayton, OH) -

In 2012, Dayton Children’s saw 9 infant deaths related to unsafe sleep practices – that is roughly one every 6 weeks. These infants were all less than 6 months old. September is Baby Safety Month and the experts at Dayton Children's Hospital want to remind parents of safe sleep practices in order to prevent more of these tragic deaths.

“These babies died from suffocation due to their sleep position or something in their sleep environment”  says Thomas Krzmarzick, MD, medical director of the Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s Hospital.  

 “These deaths were not caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS,” says Krzmarzick. “Whether the child was rolled-on by a parent or caregiver, suffocated by a product in his or her crib or sleeping in a location not appropriate for an infant - where or how the child was sleeping caused their death. These deaths were preventable. If they had a safe sleep environment they would most likely be alive today. “

According to the Ohio Department of Health, more than three Ohio infant deaths each week are sleep-related and 42 percent of infants ages one month to one year old are sleep related.

“One of the most important things for parents and caregivers to remember is to be responsible for their baby’s sleep safety,” says 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 are not provided a safe place to sleep. “A tragic sleep accident could happen to any family, so do everything possible to try to prevent one.”

 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.

“As a children’s hospital we strongly encourage breastfeeding but support the American Academy of Pediatric’s position that babies be breastfeed and sleep in their parent’s rooms but not in their beds,” adds Krzmarzick.
 
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. This includes babysitters, grandparents and other family who may care for your child. 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.

Deaths related to unsafe sleep practices contribute to our infant mortality statistics. Statistics show that between 2000 and 2010, infant mortality in Ohio grew by 3 percent. The national average decreased by 11 percent during the same period.  Ohio ranks 48th in the nation in overall infant mortality, 49th in black infant mortality and 37th in white infant mortality, according to National Center of Health Statistics.
 

For more information, contact:
Grace Rodney
Marketing Communications Specialist
Phone: 937-641-3666
marketing@childrensdayton.org

 

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