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Safe sleep recommendations for infants

October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month.

Babies up to 12 months of age can be kept safe, while sleeping at night and during naps, when American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines are followed:

— Place baby on back, in a crib, bassinet or pack ‘n play for every sleep time.

— Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.

— Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free — no pillows, blankets or toys.

— Avoid overheating baby or covering baby’s head. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.

— Remind everyone who cares for baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.

— Keep baby in a smoke-free environment.

— Support breastfeeding and immunizations.

As more parents began following infant safe sleep recommendations in the 1990s, the number of infant sleep-related deaths dramatically decreased. However, over the last decade, that decrease has slowed. From 2010 to 2018, 1,287 Michigan infants died due to sleep-related causes.

Infants can suffocate when sleeping in an adult bed or on other dangerous sleep surfaces, such as couches, armchairs or inclined sleepers, and when sleeping with parents, siblings, caregivers or pets.

“Far too many Michigan babies die in unsafe sleep environments. Parents, grandparents and caregivers can all play a part to help prevent these deaths,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

As part of the effort to prevent future sleep-related deaths, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with families, communities, hospitals, local health departments and organizations statewide to raise awareness and promote system changes that result in Michigan babies surviving and thriving in their first year and beyond.

Recently, Whitmer signed the fiscal year 2021 budget which included funding for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies plan. The budget includes $23.5 million for the program so that women are given the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. The program will also work to expand support for interventions that are proven to improve outcomes.

To learn more about infant safe sleep, go to Michigan.gov/SafeSleep or contact the Infant Safe Sleep Program at MDHHS-InfantSafeSleep@michigan.gov.

To view data related to infant safe sleep practices and sleep-related infant deaths, go to Michigan.gov/PRAMS, Michigan.gov/vitalstatistics and Keepingkidsalive.org/publications.

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