The Importance Of Safe Sleep For Infants

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Recently in New York City, three more babies died within one week from suffocation as a result of sleeping in bed with family members. Ensuring safe sleep for infants and toddlers is paramount in preventing deaths related to smothering.

“These infant deaths are preventable,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. “It is critical we continue to support the state’s message that babies sleep safest alone, on their backs and in a safety-approved crib without any soft items.”

Information obtained on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website shows that in 2015, 25 percent of the unexpected infant deaths were caused by “accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.” (www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm). New York State, where more than 50 percent of infant mortalities are attributed to accidental roll-over suffocation, has been promoting safe sleep for several years, distributing posters and flyers in English and Spanish to be hung in local businesses and health centers across the state.

“Roll-over suffocations of infants are tragedies that are entirely preventable,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Dr. John Imhof.

“We understand how many parents enjoy having their infants sleep with them, but this comes with the danger of possible suffocation when everyone falls asleep.”

Visit the New York State website ocfs.ny.gov/main/prevention/infant_sleeping.asp and www.ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/tips.asp for more information about safe sleep. There is also an online Parent Guide entitled “Starting Life Together” which can be accessed at www.nysparentguide.org. The material provides caregivers with information intended to build strong and healthy parent/child relationships. Additionally, there is a confidential parent helpline at 800-244-5373 available daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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