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Smart Health

Sleep tight

By Amy Brassfield and Lisa McGee from January 2014 Issue

Suffocation is the leading injury-related cause of death in infants in Kentucky. This is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a family, and in Kentucky it happens at a rate nearly double the rest of the U.S.

However, it can be prevented by using safe sleeping practices.

What is SUID?
Although Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is an unexplained death of an infant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend using a broader category called Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes infant deaths that are caused by suffocation or an unsafe sleeping environment. Even though about half of infant deaths in the SUID category are attributed to classic SIDS—meaning the sudden death cannot be explained—a safe sleeping environment can reduce the number of infant deaths in which suffocation is preventable.

How important is a safe sleeping environment?
According to a recent study, sleep-related risk factors were documented in nearly 88 percent of infant deaths attributed to SIDS, accidental suffocations, or unknown causes. This means that at least eight out of 10 of these infant deaths might have been prevented with a safe sleep environment.

How do I create a safe sleeping place for my child?
Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Don't use soft pillows, soft mattresses, or mattress coverings in the crib, and don't use bumper pads. Keep toys, loose bedding, and any other soft objects out of the sleeping area.

What are some other safe sleeping tips?
• Always place your baby on his back to sleep for naps and at night.

• Swaddle infant snuggly, with blanket no higher than the chest at armpit level.

• Do not allow smoking around your baby.

• Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. No bed sharing.

• Don't let the baby sleep in an adult bed or on a couch.

• Do not let your baby overheat during sleep; dress her in as few layers as possible.