How do you put your baby to sleep? Public health officials say it should be alone, on his or her back, in a safe crib.


How do you put your baby to sleep? Public health officials say it should be alone, on his or her back, in a safe crib.

 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Carter County Health Department, the back-to-sleep position has been found to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is a leading cause of infant death in Oklahoma.

 

“All babies should be placed on their backs to sleep unless there is a specific medical reason given by your doctor against it,” Carter County Health Department Administrator Mendy Spohn said. “And babies should also have their own sleeping space separate from adults.”

 

State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline said many parents and caregivers don’t understand the risks that unsafe sleep environments pose for infants.

 

According to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants are 40 times more likely to suffocate in an adult bed than in a crib.

 

In a review of undetermined infant deaths occurring in Oklahoma from 2004-2007, the Oklahoma State Department of Health Injury Prevention Service found that in 89 percent of the deaths, the infant was in an unsafe sleeping environment or an unsafe sleeping position. Most of the infants who died were 1 to 3 months of age.

 

In 70 percent of the deaths, infants were sleeping with adults or other children. Spohn said in the last few years, several babies in Carter County died from co-sleeping or unsafe sleep practices.

 

“Safe sleep practices can help save babies’ lives and lower the infant mortality rate in Oklahoma,” she said. “One goal of the statewide infant and child health initiative, Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility, is to help reduce infant mortality by focusing on SIDS awareness and other sleep-related deaths. We encourage parents, caregivers, health care providers and the public to learn more about and follow safe sleep practices for infants.”