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For Release: Oct.18, 2012 - Pamela Williams, Oklahoma State Department of Health - (405) 271-5601

OSDH Joins National Effort to Reduce Sleep-related Infant Deaths
“Safe to Sleep” Campaign Helps Reduce Infant Mortality

In an effort to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining several national organizations in a new campaign called “Safe to Sleep.” This campaign enhances the “Back to Sleep” campaign that began in 1994. 

The OSDH is partnering with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the American Academy of Pediatrics to help reduce infant mortality by expanding the focus from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to safe sleep environments for babies under age 1. Providing infants with a safe sleep environment for every sleep reduces the risk of SIDS as well as death from other causes such as accidental suffocation and entrapment.

The original campaign was named for the recommendation to place healthy infants on their backs to sleep, a practice proven to reduce SIDS risk.  In addition to SIDS, the new campaign will encompass guidelines that reduce the risk of all sleep-related and sudden unexpected infant deaths.

According to 2010 Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data, one in three babies in Oklahoma are not placed on their backs to sleep, increasing their risk for SIDS. More than half of infants in the state share a bed or other sleeping surface with someone else. The Oklahoma Child Death Review Board reviewed 79 infant deaths in 2010 that were related to unsafe sleep conditions, including bed-sharing and infant sleep position.

In addition to stressing the placement of infants on their backs for all sleep times, the “Safe to Sleep” campaign emphasizes other ways to provide a safe sleep environment for infants.  These include:

  • Placing infants to sleep in their own safe sleep environment and not on an adult bed
  • Avoiding use of soft bedding such as bumper pads, blankets, or quilts
  • Promoting breastfeeding to help reduce the risk of SIDS
  • Eliminating risks to infant health such as overheating, exposure to tobacco smoke,  and mother’s use of alcohol and illicit drugs

A new brochure and a one-page fact sheet are available for order from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development by calling 1-800-505-CRIB (2742) or at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS. New materials will be posted at the site as they are available.

Oklahoma materials related to the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative also include infant safe sleep tips and can be found under “safe sleep” at:  http://iio.health.ok.gov.

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