Austin, Texas – Sleep-related death, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation, are leading causes of death for babies under one year old. The safest sleep environment for babies is alone, and on their back on a flat, firm surface such as a crib.
A recently published report from Austin Public Health showed that 41 babies died due to unsafe sleep practices in Austin between 2013 and 2017.
With the holidays around the corner, parents can expect presents such as cribs, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and more for their little ones. It is important to remember safe sleep guidelines when giving or using these gifts. For example, a better gift idea for babies would be a sleep sack or wearable blanket.
“Whether it be a baby shower, birthday, or the holiday season, following the guidelines for infant sleep is important year-round," said Denise Geleitsmann, Austin Public Health’s injury prevention coordinator. “Ensure your baby sleeps safe so family and friends can love them for years of celebrations to come."
Research product recalls before purchasing gifts. For example, the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper was recently recalled as 73 infant deaths have been connected to inclined sleep products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends to stop using infant sleep products with inclined sleep backs of more than 10 degrees and avoid infant car seats, bouncers or other infant inclined sleep products.
Along with having a safe sleep environment, parents and caregivers should follow these tips to protect their baby:
Babies should sleep in cribs, bassinets, portable cribs or pack 'n plays.
Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs.
Never put a baby to sleep with adults or other children.
Ensure no other items are in the sleeping area, including pillows, crib bumpers or stuffed animals, and use a sleep sack instead of blankets.
Do not overheat a baby's room or dress the baby too warmly.
Breastfeed your infant for an additional protective effect against SIDS and other diseases.
Avoid all exposure to smoke.
Austin Public Health’s injury prevention program works to improve public health by taking action to prevent injuries before they happen. The full report on sleep-related deaths can be found here or visit AustinTexas.gov/SafeSleep.