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Future First: Baby Safe Sleep Practices (Preventing Infant Mortality)

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep sponsored by Children’s Services Council of Broward County Florida
Babies should be placed ALONE on their BACKS in a CRIB!!!!!!


Our program focuses on reducing the risk of SIDS/SUID in our community as well as completely preventing all sleep related deaths. We do this in many ways; by educating the community at large, giving trainings to partnering organizations, providing cribs to mothers in need with our Cribs for Kids program (which in tandem educates said parents), raising awareness through a consistent community safe sleep campaign, working with first responders to disseminate the message into the community through our DOSE program as well as utilizing a model behavior program which educates nurses and medical staff to follow safe sleep protocols as well.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep:
The ABC’s of Safe Sleep gives a basic guideline that parents and caretakers can follow in order to ensure that a baby is in a safe sleep environment.
A: Alone (a baby should always be alone in his crib with no toys, bumper pads, pillows etc)
B: Back (a baby should always be put to sleep on his back for every sleep. This includes naps as well.
C: Crib (The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib that meets the current standards of the consumer product safety commission)

Dangers of Co-Sleeping/Bed-Sharing:
Co-sleeping is when you lay your baby in the bed with you and is extremely dangerous. This can lead to many things: Accidental suffocation or strangulation of a pillow or blanket. Overlay, where an adult rolls on top of or smothers a baby with a limb such as an arm or shoulder etc. Wedging or entrapment: when a child falls in between the bed and the wall or another surface and is suffocated or trapped. These are all very real and serious risks of sleeping with your baby that lead to unintentional and completely preventable death. We encourage parents to room share, instead of bed share. This means that you put the crib directly next to the bed. This will allow for you to be close to your baby while providing a safe sleeping environment as well. We find that the majority of sleep related infant deaths don’t happen to neglectful or abusive parents, but rather parents or caretakers who are uneducated about this issue with the best of intentions.

Broward Statistics:

Year Sleep Related Deaths
2010 17
2011 17
2012 14
2013 17
2014 21
2015 13

While we have seen a drastic decrease in sleep related deaths last year, we still have a lot of work to do in our community. As stated, all sleep related deaths are 100% preventable and as such, one death is far too many.

Why on the back?

The anatomy of why a child should be placed on his back has many variables working in its favor. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with HMHB implores parents to put their babies to sleep on their back for every sleep. The main argument that we get is regarding choking due to spit up. Many parents believe that putting a child to sleep on his stomach will prevent choking while in fact, it is the very opposite. If you look at the physical make up of an infant (or any person for that matter), the feeding tube or esophagus is underneath the Trachea or breathing tube. As a result of this, any food that is spit up will work with gravity going right back down into the esophagus where as if a child is on his stomach, the spit up will potentially block the trachea (breathing tube) which will cause a blockage in breathing. It is much more likely for a child to die of choking on his spit up if he is on his stomach than on his back.

We also need to consider something called the arousal threshold which allows for an infant to wake himself up should there be an issue. If a baby is on his stomach, he can create a pocket of CO2 which he can easily rebreathe, have an elevated temperature or choke on spit up (as stated before) and because his arousal threshold is lowered he is less apt to wake up and more likely to die of a sleep related death. A child that is on his back can move his arms and legs freely, has better temperature and vital sign regulation and can more easily wake up should there be an issue. We want our babies waking up every 2 hours and while this isn’t convenient for most parents, our babies health and safety isn’t about the amount of free time we get as parents, but rather about keeping our children safe and most importantly, alive.