Thousands of sudden, unexpected infant deaths occur each year. Research indicates the vast majorities are accidental and are due to babies sleeping in unsafe sleeping environments.
The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade (HSCMD) — a non-profit maternal, infant and child health organization — aims to change that trend. HSCMD recently announced its partnership with Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative to promote infant safe sleep practices for all new parents in Miami-Dade County.
Nearly three-fourths of sleep-related infant deaths are attributed to bed sharing. HSCMD is committed to educating parents and caregivers that the safest way for a baby to sleep is alone, on his or her back, in a bare, safety-approved crib. During the 2016 fiscal year, HSCMD, through its Healthy Start program, provided safe sleep education to 13,452 pregnant women and 12,073 families with infants and young children. To meet the needs of the community, HSCMD ensures Safe Sleep materials and education are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole.
Additionally, since August 2014, the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade has provided Safe Sleep Training to 118 professionals and other community members working with pregnant women and families with infants and young children; an effort that continues today.
“We are excited to partner with the Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative. This partnership will allow us to further educate parents about safe sleep habits for their newborns,” said Manuel E. Fermin, CEO, Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade. “Our mission is to make sure that all babies are given a healthy start to life. Promoting safe sleep habits helps lower the risk of injuring your baby and reduce sleep-related deaths.”
Through this partnership, HSCMD will purchase and distribute items to support a safe sleep environment to Healthy Start program participants who are determined to have the highest need. Some of these items may include, a portable crib (with sheet set included) and a wearable blanket. All program participants receive the benefit of Safe Sleep education.
To further reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends:
• A firm mattress, closely fitted to the sides of the crib, and a tight-fitting sheet;
• Wearable blankets in place of loose bedding;
• Removal of all pillows, blankets, bumpers and toys from the crib
• Never let baby sleep, with or without someone, on a couch, or in a bed or chair;
• Maintain a smoke-free home;
• Breastfeed, which has important health benefits, but returning baby to • Keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room as mom and dad, but not in the same bed.
The risks of an infant sleeping in an adult bed or bed-sharing include:
• Suffocation in soft bedding (pillows, thick quilts and comforters);
• Suffocation from an adult, pet, or another child laying on baby;
• Entrapment between the bed and wall;
• Entrapment involving the bed frame, headboard or footboard, and
• Falls from the bed onto floor or in piles of clothing, plastic bags or other soft materials, resulting in suffocation.