October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children under the age of one.
The state’s child welfare agency is using this month to call attention to the problem. The Department of Children and Family Services said parents and caregivers can use three simple steps to ensure infants are put to sleep safely.
As much as we love our babies, sleeping with them is just not safe. In fact, unsafe sleep deaths are 100% preventable. It’s crucial for parents and caregivers to learn and follow the ABCs of safe sleep. Infants should always sleep alone; on their backs; and in a safe crib,” said Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith. “Following these simple steps and removing bumpers, toys, blankets and other items from cribs could save the life of your child.”
Most sleep-related deaths occur when infants are between 1 and 4 months old; 90% occur before an infant reaches 6 months of age. Last year, 106 infants in Illinois died as a result of being put to sleep unsafely.
According to DCFS, 78 were found in locations other than a crib, bassinet or ‘pack and play;’ 24 were found in positions other than on their back; and 42 were co-sleeping with another individual at the time of death.
It adds that infants sleep safest alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheet. The crib should be free of pillows, blankets, bumper pads and toys. Infants should never be placed on an adult bed or couch to sleep. If parents of young children are traveling, they should call ahead to make sure their accommodations include a crib or bring a ‘pack and play’ if one is not available.
For more information about safe sleep practices, visit Illinois Safe Sleep Support.