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FOR RELEASE: October 8, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

A parent’s worst nightmare is the loss of an infant or child. Parents of young infants may worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and unexplained death of an infant less than 1 year of age. According to health care professionals at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies 1 month to 1 year old.

SIDS can happen in families of all races, religions and income levels, however, a disproportionate number of Oklahoma’s SIDS deaths are infants who are African American or American Indian.

Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Place baby on his/her back to sleep.
  • Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet.
  • Remove all loose and fluffy bedding and toys from sleep area.
  • Make sure baby's head and face stay uncovered during sleep.
  • Create a smoke-free zone around the baby.
  • Don't overheat the room or dress baby too warmly.
  • Encourage mothers to breastfeed.
  • Educate everyone who cares for infants - grandparents, babysitters, child care providers and church nursery workers about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Of particular note is placing babies to sleep on their backs rather than tummies. “We are asking for all physicians, nurses, hospitals, child care educators, clinics and county health departments to assist in the education and promotion of placing infants to sleep on their backs,” said Dr. Edd Rhoades, Deputy Commissioner, OSDH Family Health Services.

The Oklahoma SIDS Alliance will hold a SIDS Stroll at Stars and Stripes Park in Oklahoma City on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to raise funds to support research on the cause of SIDS. The event will help educate the public on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and provide support to grieving families. For information about the SIDS stroll or to participate, call 1-800-248-7437.

For educational materials about SIDS, contact the OSDH SIDS Program at (405) 271-4471.

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