Safe Sleep Infant Week Promotes Healthy Sleeping Environment

Safe Infant Sleep Week is Nov. 5-11

DULUTH, Minn. – As part of Infant Safe Sleep Week medical leaders in Minnesota are making a push to cut down on unexpected infant deaths.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth is at the forefront of this initiative. That’s because it’s the first hospital in the state to receive a National Safe Sleep Certification by maintaining a safe sleep policy.

“Our facility has instituted all of the proper education for parents and staff in terms of role modeling and educating about a safe sleep environment and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS),”said St. Luke’s Maternal Child Health Nurse Manager Lori Swanson .

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says most of the recent unexpected infant deaths in the state were related to unsafe sleep environments.

“I think a lot of folks are overwhelmed by having a new baby. They’re sleep deprived,” said MDH Maternal and Child Health Director Susan Castellano. “We need the message to be delivered by hospitals and by care providers. People really need to hear it maybe several times to really catch the expectations.”

Parents are encouraged to follow the ABC’s of sleep:

  • Alone: Infants should always sleep or nap alone
  • Back: Always put a back on their back to sleep or nap.
  • Crib: Babies should always sleep or nap in a safety approved crib or play yard.

“We use an in-hospital sleep sack program through Crib For Kids, so all of our babies are in a halo sleep sack while they’re in-patient,”Swanson. “Then we send our moms home with a sleep sack , so they can be successful at home.”

In 2015, there were 53 sleep-related infant deaths in Minnesota. Here are a few key findings:

  • 93 percent had loose objects around them, such as pillows or blankets, or were not placed on a firm surface, such as a crib mattress to sleep.
  • 49 percent of the babies were sharing a sleep surface, such as a bed, sofa or recliner with another person.
  • 27 percent were in unsafe sleep position, such as being placed on their side or belly.

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