Medical Minute: Safe Sleeping Space for Babies

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MINOT, N.D. - Sleep-related deaths are the number one killer of children under the age of one.

In a recent report released by The American Academy of Pediatrics, most parents are still putting their kids to sleep in an unsafe way.

Efforts to educate the public about infant sleep risk factors began in 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics launched the Safe to Sleep Campaign, recommending placing babies on their backs while napping or sleeping.

The U.S. SIDS rate dropped more than 60% between 1994 and 2014. However, the rate of infant deaths from other sleep-related causes has increased.

"There have been several causes, like if the parents have the baby in the bed the parent will roll over on the baby. If you have headboards the baby will roll and get stuck between the headboard. With heavy blankets a lot of times babies when they're newborns they can't roll out of that if they're feeling like they can't breathe, so then they just get suffocated under that heavy blanket," NNP-DC Breanna Wheeler said.

Now in addition to sleeping on their backs, professionals recommend a separate crib with no loose bedding, bumper pads or stuffed animals.

But with the co-sleeping trend on the rise, healthcare professionals are warning against the dangers.

"If the parents are really wanting the baby in the room with them, they could get a bassinet or a separate crib and have them in the room with them, just not in the bed with them," Wheeler said.

One way to comfort your infant while sleeping is by swaddling them in a swaddle sack, the safest way to bring comfort to the baby.

"Babies have been in a tight enclosed space for nine months so they like to have their hands up by their face, and they like to be tucked in. When they come out they don't have the strength to keep themselves in that position, so swaddling helps, and it's very comforting for them to be in alignment," Wheeler said.

And when your child is going to sleep, just remember back is best.

All families who have their babies at Trinity are sent home with a swaddle sack and education on safe sleep practices.