Oakland County Health Division Issues Safe Sleep Guidelines to Prevent Infant Death

Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, issues guidelines to protect infants from unsafe sleep arrangements during National Safe Sleep 091613 safe sleep pledgeMonth this September.

“OCHD is bringing a train-the-trainer program with safe sleep display to 30 community locations this September, including community service agencies, hospitals and physician offices,” said Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer. “We hope these trainings encourage residents to follow safe sleep practices.”

The Health Division received a mini-grant from Michigan Department of Community Health to promote infant safe sleep practices through community education.

OCHD recommends sharing these guidelines with everyone caring for your baby. Follow them every time you put your infant to sleep- for daytime naps and at night:

–       An infant must sleep alone. Pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, or other soft items should not be in an infant’s sleep area. Infants should never sleep with adults, siblings or pets.

–       An infant must sleep in a crib, portable crib, or bassinet. Those who breastfeed their child in bed should make sure to put him or her back in a crib, portable crib or bassinet immediately after feeding.

–       Use a firm mattress with a tightly-fitted sheet. Never let an infant sleep on soft surfaces, such as a couch or sofa, pillows, quilts, sheepskins or blankets.

–       Infants must always sleep on their backs, even when they are at the stage where they can roll over.

–       Keep an infant’s face uncovered during sleep for easy breathing. Use a sleeper instead of a blanket.

–       Don’t overheat the infant. Dress the infant in the same amount of clothing as adults are wearing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.

–       Don’t allow anyone to smoke around children.

Sleep-related infant deaths are typically due to accidental causes: suffocation, when an object blocks baby’s airway; entrapment, when baby is lodged between two objects such as a mattress and wall; or strangulation, when something presses on or wraps around baby’s neck, blocking the airway.

Various OCHD programs focus on reducing infant mortality and educating about prevention measures:

  • Best Start for Babies community action team implements strategies to assist at-risk families
  • Fetal Infant Mortality Review team develops strategies to prevent future deaths
  • WIC nutrition education program helps families eat well and stay healthy
  • Public education campaigns promote maternal and infant health and available services
  • Public health nurses provide home visits to pregnant women, new mothers and families in need

For more information on safe sleep, please visit www.oakgov.com/health/safesleep.

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