The holidays are meant to be a time of joy with family and friends, often spent traveling away from home for visits. For families with infants, ensuring your baby has a safe place to sleep when you're away is crucial to a healthy, happy holiday season.
Nearly 140 babies died in Michigan last year because they were put to sleep in places that were unsafe. To protect babies this holiday season, the Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Human Services (DHS) is reminding both parents and caregivers to make sure their baby or the baby in their care has a safe place to sleep, for nap time and night time, at home and as you travel.
"The holiday season can be a busy and hectic time of year, but it is important to remember to always have a safe place for your baby to sleep so that the holidays can be enjoyed," said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. "Placing your baby, grandchild, niece or nephew, in an environment that's safe for them to sleep is the best way to ensure they too have a safe and happy holiday."
Each year, Michigan babies die while sleeping in adult beds, on armchairs and on couches, while sleeping with pillows, blankets and stuffed toys, and while sleeping with adults or other children.
"These deaths are 100 percent preventable," said DHS Director Maura Corrigan. "Far too many Michigan families must live every day with the loss of their precious babies."
Families are encouraged to follow these safe sleep tips:
- The safest place for baby to sleep is alone, in a crib, bassinet or portable play yard.
- When traveling, take a portable play yard with you to make sure that you have a safe sleep space for baby.
- Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
- "Bare is best" - there should be nothing in baby's sleep space - no pillows, blankets or toys.
- Baby should sleep on his or her back, for every sleep time, nap time and night time. Avoid covering baby's head or overheating.
Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping. Don't wake up to a tragedy this holiday season.
To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/safesleep.