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Unsafe sleep environments and practices can put infants at increased risk of accidental suffocation and strangulation, resulting in preventable deaths. To help raise awareness, Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed November 4th through November 10th Infant Safe Sleep Week in Minnesota.
Rice County Public Health would like to help share this message with all caregivers of infants and young children. “All caregivers should know and practice the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: A baby should sleep alone, on his or her back, in a safe crib,” says Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director. “Crib mattresses should be firm, sheets should fit tightly and there shouldn’t be anything else in the crib, including pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed animals and toys.” Infants also should not be placed to sleep on a couch, in a car seat, or in the caregiver’s bed.
Minnesota data show that unsafe sleep environments account for nearly all unexpected infant deaths in Minnesota, with about 50 infants dying each year. Parents, families, and childcare providers all play a part in using safe sleep practices for infants and young children. Dress babies in pajamas or clothing appropriate for the temperature, and place on their back in a safety-approved crib, free of blankets, pillows, and other loose items. Other risks to avoid include exposure to tobacco smoke and co-sleeping.
Rice County Public Health staff are available to conduct a home safety visit for caregivers of young children. In partnership with “Cradle of Hope,” staff are also able to provide a portable crib if needed, to ensure that every baby has a safe place to sleep. For more information, contact Susan Prieve, Rice County Public Health Family Child Health Supervisor at 507-332-5916.
More information on infant safe sleep, can be found at the Minnesota Department of Health website: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/program/infantmortality/safesleep.cfm