Ohio Department of Health pushes ABCs of safe sleep for infants

More than 3 deaths per week in Ohio sleep related

CINCINNATI -- More than three Ohio infants die every week from sleep related accidents and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is on a mission to teach parents the basics of safe sleep for their child.

ODH has introduced the "ABCs" of safe sleep as a push toward lowering the state's infant mortality rate, which was 7.87 (infants deaths per 1,000 live births) in 2011 compared to the national rate of 6.05.

What are the ABCs defined by ODH?

Alone: Two out of three babies who died while sleeping were sharing an adult bed, couch or chair. It's important to always place your baby alone in a crib or bassinet when it's time for bed. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room (within arm’s reach), but not in your bed. You should never share a bed with a baby because you could roll to close or onto your baby, babies can get stuck between the mattress and the wall, headboard, footboard or other furniture.

Back: Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to choke than those who sleep on their stomachs. Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. Healthy babies naturally swallow or cough up their spit-up, so your baby will not choke if on their back. It's safer for your baby to wake up during the night on his back because if he or she is sleeping on their tummy and needs to take a deep breath, it could be very dangerous. This is due to the possible inability to move his or her head leading the baby's mouth or nose to be blocked and they could suffocate.

Crib: Remember, "bare is best." Many parents think their baby won’t be safe and warm without bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals, but these items can be deadly. Babies can suffocate on any extra item in the crib. Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Sleep clothing like fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers and sleep sacks are safer for a baby than blankets.

As a part of ODH's effort to reduce infant mortality, it will team up with the Charlie's Kids Foundation and the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) on Wednesday to present a semi-trailer truck filled with new books aiming to help educate parents about the ABCs of Safe Sleep at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Tips for safe infant sleep by ODH:

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed.
  • Never place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, cushions or soft surfaces.
  • Dress your baby in sleep clothing, such as a sleep sack, and do not use a blanket.
  • Avoid letting the baby get too hot. Keep room temperatures in a range comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended to help to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth. Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.
  • Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bed time, once breastfeeding is well established.
  • Talk to those who care for your baby, including child care providers, family, and friends, about placing your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep.
  • Obtain regular prenatal care to reduce the risk of SIDS even before birth.
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.

For more information from the Ohio Department of Health, CLICK HERE.

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