Why does safe sleep matter? Every parent has probably heard about SIDS and other sleep-related tragedies. SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, is when an infant dies suddenly in their sleep with no obvious explanation. Positional asphyxia, or suffocation, occurs when a baby’s airway is cut off during sleep. This can be from positioning (on their belly) or obstruction of their nose and mouth by things like extra bedding, stuffed animals, or other people---which can be prevented by taking the proper steps.
While these cases are rare, they were one of the leading causes of infant death in our area in 2021, so it became the FIMR team's mission to educate the community. This is not meant to scare or shame anyone. We simply want to provide you with the knowledge and tools to avoid these tragedies, because when we know better we can do better.
The risk of SIDS and suffocation during sleep can be significantly decreased by following safe sleep guidelines. You can easily remember the guidelines as the ABCs:
Alone (no people, blankets, or stuffed animals), on their
Back (not tummy), in a
Crib (with a firm flat mattress and tight fitted sheet, or a pack and play) for every
sleep (nap or bedtime).
Here we have additional resources to help you feel confident that your baby is sleeping safely:
Learn What Safe Sleep Looks Like
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) created a flyer with pictures and simple explanations of the safest sleep practices for baby.
The Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Ambassador Training is a free, 30 minute online course all about safe sleep practices. It also has tips about how to talk to other family members/caregivers about safe sleep. We highly recommend this for anyone (parents, sitters, grandparents, etc.) who will be caring for baby.
Watch the Safe Sleep Short Films
The Charlie’s Kids Foundation was started by a physician and his wife who lost their son, Charlie, to an unsafe sleep incident. They created 9 short films (30 seconds or less) addressing different areas of safe sleep and new parenting. They are promoted by the FIMR team and both local hospitals. Check them out below!
After having the unthinkable happen, and taking the time to grieve the loss of their precious little ones, these mothers found a purpose in their pain by candidly sharing their stories in the hopes of helping others.
If you work professionally with new and expecting families, we highly encourage you have the NICDH flyers on display in your office or available for your clients to take. We welcome you to print them directly from this website (find the links in the parent section above). We also have flyers with QR codes for the Charlie's Kids Safe Sleep Short Films that we would be happy to share.
Please be sure to talk to your clients about safe sleep, and don't forget to ask open ended questions about where baby is being put down for naps and bedtime. If they do not have a safe space for baby to sleep, there are various community partners that can offer them a pack and play. We can provide you with that list.
Contact the FIMR project coordinator for more information.