Beginning in the 1990’s a safe sleep campaign called “Back to Sleep” initially decreased the number of infant deaths known as sudden infant death or SIDS. That number has plateaued in recent years prompting public health and medical organizations to increase efforts to educate parents and families about the safest way to sleep with their babies.
The St. Joseph County Health Department encourages parents and families to stay close to their babies for sleep, in the same room, while sleeping apart on separate surfaces based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (1) the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (2), the March of Dimes (3) and the Centers for Disease Control. Staying close will create the chance to bond with your baby, learn his needs and establish breastfeeding. Sleeping apart will provide the safest sleep space for your baby.
Always place your baby on his/her back to sleep.
Give your baby plenty of supervised tummy time while you’re both awake.
(Tummy time should begin the day baby arrives home and be done for 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times a day to help baby develop appropriate muscle strength.)
Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) is the term used to categorize the death of an infant from birth to 1 year old after a thorough exam, autopsy, and investigation result in an undetermined finding for the cause of death.
There is no way to tell the difference between an accidental suffocation and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) through an autopsy, so the other factors surrounding the death are important and are studied to learn how to reduce the likelihood of SUID.
In St. Joseph County from 2015 to mid-2017, there were 10 cases of SUID in our community. In every case the baby was sleeping in an adult bed and in all but one case, the baby was sharing the bed with at least one adult or child. Other risk factors present in these deaths included babies being put to sleep on their stomachs, heavy bedding and pillows on the bed, and smoking in the living environment. Mother can further help reduce the risk of SUID by not smoking during pregnancy.