Infant Mortality Awareness Month: Don’t Co-Sleep

While many parents might be tempted to keep a newborn baby in bed with them while the family sleeps, it is a dangerous and potentially deadly practice. Last year, 44 infants in L.A. County died in events related to co-sleeping (infants sharing a bed with a parent, another child or pet ), according to the Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect (ICAN).

Some parents may think that instinct alone will prevent them from rolling on top of their child, but this is not always true and too dangerous to risk. According to ICAN, in more than half of the deaths associated with co-sleeping, the infant was sleeping with one adult. Other statistics showed that ten of the infants were sleeping with two adults, five with one adult and one or more of the infants were sleeping with other children.

ICAN and First 5 LA would like to share some tips on how to prevent accidental infant death related to sleeping:

  • Keep a baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where a parent, caregiver or others sleep. A baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but sleeping in the same room as the parent or caregiver is recommended. After breastfeeding in bed, put the baby back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside co-sleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed).
  • Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night.
    The back is the safest sleep position for a baby, and every sleep or nap time counts.
  • Never let a baby get overheated. Dress infants in light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. When using a light blanket, put the baby down with his or her feet at one end of the crib and don't let the blanket come higher than the infant's chest. Tuck the edges of the blanket under the crib mattress to avoid entanglement.
  • Place a baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet
    Never place a baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of a baby's sleep area. Don't use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins or pillow-like crib bumpers in a baby's sleep area, and keep all objects away from a baby's face.
  • Be aware that prescription medicine, drugs, or alcohol can make a parent or caregiver sleepy, drowsy, or impair his or her judgment.
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