October is National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)/Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Sanford, NC- The Lee County Health Department is helping to raise awareness of National SIDS/Safe Sleep Month, which is in October. Each year in the United States, up to 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly. Most of these deaths are from SIDS and other sleep related causes. SIDS is one of the leading causes of death for infants one month to one year of age nationally and in North Carolina.
“While healthcare providers and researchers do not know the exact cause of SIDS, there are preventive methods we do know to encourage safe sleep” says Kim Ferguson, Infant Mortality Reduction Project Manager with the Lee County Health Department. “The Health Department wants to highlight these methods to encourage the practice of safe sleeping habits for infants and to help reduce the risk of SIDS”.
The Infant Mortality Reduction Project provides training and resources to those agencies who work with expectant or new parents about how to reduce the risk of SIDS and death from unsafe sleep. Tobacco exposure during pregnancy and after birth increases an infant’s risk of death from SIDS. The NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch Quitline prioritizes pregnant and post-partum women with their services to help women quit and stay tobacco free.
Strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS and promote safe sleep include:
· Always place babies on their backs to sleep for naps and at night.
· Use a firm mattress in a safety approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
· Have baby share the room, but not your bed. Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or a chair alone or with anyone else.
· Keep soft objects, loose bedding, bumper pads, pillows, quilts, comforters, and stuffed toys out of the crib.
· Don’t let baby get too hot during sleep.
· Prevent any exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and after birth. Do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby- especially in the home or in a vehicle.
· Breastfeed your baby.
For more information, see the NC Healthy Start Foundation website : http://www.nchealthystart.org
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) currently offers free help quitting tobacco use through 1-800-QUIT-NOW or http://www.quitlinenc.com/