October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month.
What is safe sleep? Safe sleep is a set of practices and guidelines designed to create a secure sleeping environment for infants, minimizing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related dangers.
The ABCs of Safe Sleep
Prioritizing safe sleep practices significantly reduces the risk of sleep-related accidents and, by following the ABCs of safe sleep, you’re giving your baby the best chance for a healthy, happy start in life.
- A – Alone: Infants should always sleep alone in their own sleep space, like a crib or bassinet, free from pillows, blankets, or toys.
- B – Back: Always place your baby on their back to sleep. This position significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.
- C – Crib: Ensure that your baby sleeps in a safety-approved crib or bassinet, designed to meet current safety standards.
Planning Is Paramount: When ABCs Aren’t an Option
While the safest sleep environment for infants is their own crib or bassinet, there are situations where bed sharing may become a necessity. In such cases, it’s vital to take extra precautions.
Learn about the 8 Rules for Safer Sleep
- No smoking in the home or outside: This means ensuring a completely smoke-free environment for the baby. Smoke exposure, even indirectly, increases the risk of respiratory problems and SIDS.
- Sober adults: Caregivers should refrain from consuming alcohol or taking medications that induce drowsiness while responsible for the baby. This ensures they can respond promptly to any needs or emergencies.
- Breastfeeding day and night: If a parent chooses to bed share, it is recommended that they do so only when breastfeeding. This is because breastfeeding allows for closer supervision and immediate response to the baby’s needs.
- Only with a healthy baby who is full term: This refers to a baby who is born at full term (between 37 and 42 weeks gestation) and is in good health without any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Baby should be on its back and face up: Placing the baby on their back for sleep significantly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The face-up position allows for clear airways and comfortable breathing.
- No sweat: Baby is in light clothing and not swaddled. Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS. It’s important to dress the baby in light, breathable clothing and avoid swaddling, especially in warmer environments.
- Safe surface: No soft mattress, no extra pillows, no toys, no tight or heavy covers. Clear of strings and cords. Gaps firmly filled by rolled towels or baby blankets. The sleep surface should be firm and free from any potential hazards. This includes removing soft bedding, toys, and ensuring that there are no strings or cords nearby.
- The C-position: The C-position, also known as the “cuddle curl,” is a recommended way to position a baby when bed sharing. In this position, the baby is nestled in a semi-fetal position, with their head near the mother’s breast and knees drawn up. This position can help create a protective barrier and facilitate safe breastfeeding during sleep.
In situations where following the ABCs of safe sleep isn’t feasible, having a well-thought-out plan becomes paramount. Always communicate with your partner, family members, or caregivers about safe sleep practices, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
How Do I Get Involved In Safe Sleep Awareness?
This page is your one-stop shop for everything safe sleep in Colorado this October and beyond! Get resources about safe sleep, learn about the work Illuminate is doing related to safe sleep and how you can get involved, and check out our safe sleep blogs and newsletter right from this page.
Safe Sleep Information & Resources
HealthyChildren.org is the only parenting website backed by 67,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Get parent- and caregiver-friendly information about safe sleep (and tons of other information) directly from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There are so many choices when it comes to buying products for baby. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission works to protect people from unsafe consumer products–including unsafe sleep-related products. Stay up-to-date on recent recalls, and check for any recalls before buying something secondhand or using a hand-me-down for baby.
Awareness Month Toolkit
Use this toolkit to raise awareness about safe infant sleep, normalize images of safe sleep practices, and celebrate caregivers’ roles in helping to keep baby safe during sleep.
Follow Illuminate on social media to see safe sleep posts all month long!
Infant Loss Resources
The loss of a baby is unimaginably tragic and heartbreaking, but this is not a path parents and caregivers have to travel alone. Resources and support are available.
Angel Eyes helps Colorado families cope with the sudden, unexpected death of an infant or toddler, including SIDS, SUID, SUDC, miscarriage and stillbirth loss, while raising awareness and supporting research. They offer free professional bereavement counseling, a support group, peer connections, and community referrals to those who are grieving.
Postpartum Support International provides resources for loss and grief in pregnancy and postpartum through non-judgmental support, information, and connection with others. PSI offers several different support groups for those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss, a discussion tool, a provider directory, and additional resources.
The Safe to Sleep® campaign and its collaborators and partners offer sympathy and empathy to families and communities that experience such losses, especially those from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related situations. They have a list of several other resources available to families who have lost a baby.
Infant Safe Sleep Partnership
The Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership (ISSP) mission is to support families, providers, organizations and policymakers to increase infant safe sleep practices and address related barriers and disparities, through education, practice change and systems improvement.
Develop culturally – responsive public awareness and educational campaigns collaboratively with families and community – based organizations.
Design and implement Quality Improvement initiatives based in hospitals and provider education opportunities simultaneously.
Work in constant partnership with community organizations to address systemic issues that may impact safe sleep practices.
Family Connects Colorado
The service is simple: A registered nurse visits your home around 3 weeks after birth to check on parent, baby, and the whole family. There is no additional cost to you, and anyone with a newborn can participate, including foster, adoptive, kinship, immigrant, and refugee families.
Bringing Home Baby
Every family that gets a home visit from a registered nurse through Family Connects Colorado also receives a copy of Bringing Home Baby: A Guide to Support Families in the First Few Months. This guidebook contains lots of information, including information about safe sleep practices. View the entire guidebook at FamilyConnectsColorado.org/resources.
Schedule Your Visit
Currently, Family Connects is only available for Eagle County residents and some Boulder County and Jefferson County residents. These counties are expanding and more counties will be offering Family Connects soon.
Illuminating Child Care
Before a parent can begin to address any complex issue impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges, they are too often faced, first, with struggling to find child care.
Illuminating Child Care brings an innovative systemic approach to increasing access to child care for parents and caregivers navigating complex life situations. The cornerstone of Illuminating Child Care is its renovated RVs, which serve as on-site child care classrooms providing drop-in care for young children.
What does this mean for parents and caregivers? Free, drop-in, on-site, and high-quality child care–which, yes, means that every infant in an Illuminating Child Care classroom sleeps safely.
Illuminate Colorado regularly features content related to safe infant sleep on our blog. Stay tuned this October for new safe sleep blog content!
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