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FOR RELEASE: October 10, 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Safe Bedding For Your Baby Means Safer Sleep Environment

Parents may unknowingly be placing their infants at increased risk for sleep- related deaths by preparing an unsafe sleep area. Nursery photos in popular magazines and department store nursery displays often provide parents and other caregivers with models of unsafe bedding practices, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

“Infant bedding is sold as a package with bumper pads, quilts, sheets and sometimes decorator pillows. Parents may not realize that some of these items are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD) and place their infant at increased risk for sleep-related deaths,” said Margaret DeVault, OSDH social work coordinator.
The AAP recommendations are based on years of research examining infant deaths related to sleep environment and are aimed at reducing the risk of infant sleep- related deaths.

“Putting babies to sleep in improper sleeping environments creates danger to the infant. We need to get the message across to parents, and other people who care for infants, that it is not safe to put stuffed animals or toys, pillows, bumper pads, quilts or other items in the crib with the baby because these items could cause suffocation and strangulation,” said OSDH Deputy Commissioner Dr. Edd Rhoades.

To help reduce the number of infant deaths related to unsafe sleep environment, the AAP, NICHHD and the OSDH recommend the following:

  • Infants should sleep on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Infants should sleep only in cribs or bassinets approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Keep soft bedding, quilts, comforters, bumper pads, pillows, sheepskin and toys out of the crib.
  • Use sleep sacks instead of blankets. If using a blanket, tuck it in at the bottom of the crib and sides, with it being no higher than the infant’s chest. The infant’s face should be clear of covering to allow easy breathing.
  • Keep the infant’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep.
  • If the infant is brought to bed to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or infant bed when finished.
  • Always place the infant on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.

For more information and materials about infant safe sleep, contact Margaret DeVault at the OSDH Maternal and Child Health Service at 405-271-4480. Suggested national Web sites related to infant safe sleep include the AAP www.aap.org; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov; the NICHHD www.nichd.nih.gov/sids; First Candle SIDS Alliance www.sidsalliance.org; and CJ Foundation for SIDS www.cjsids.com. Oklahoma resources include Healing Hearts Oklahoma www.healingokhearts.org, and The Great Battle Against SIDS www.battlesids.org.


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