The death of an infant is a devastating loss for a family – one that too many have had to grieve through.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that, in 2017, 3,600 infants younger than one year old died in their sleep in the United States. Of these, approximately 900 deaths were from accidental suffocation or strangulation, 1,300 were from unknown Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and 1,400 were from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as SIDS. More recent statistics from the Florida Department of Health report that, in 2019, the state of Florida saw a total of 192 sleep-related infant deaths, nine of which were right in our backyard.
The common threads between many of these tragic deaths were the conditions in which the infants slept. Many were reported to be sleeping in adult beds or with others, using blankets or pillows while they slept or, commonly, sleeping on their tummies instead of on their backs.
To help support our families and prevent the unfathomable loss of a child, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) is committed to promoting safe sleep practices within our local communities and surrounding areas. In addition to educating our community and practicing safe sleep within our hospital, TMH is currently pursuing the Infant Safe Sleep National Hospital Certification from national safe sleep nonprofit, Cribs for Kids. This certification will affirm our commitment to keeping babies safe and distinguish TMH as a leader in championing safe sleep in our community.
Safe Sleep Tips
Our goal is to provide every family the information, knowledge and support they need to keep their babies sleeping safely. As such, here are eight steps for safe sleep that you should practice each and every time you lay your little one down to rest.
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep.
- Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature comfortable for an adult.
- Dress your baby in a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets.
- Do not bed share. Place your baby’s crib near your bed.
- Remove all soft bedding, bumpers and toys from your baby’s sleep area. Use only a tight fitted sheet.
- Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, offer a pacifier after baby is one month old.
- Visit your baby’s pediatrician regularly and stay up to date on your baby’s immunizations.
- Never smoke around your baby!
As we increase awareness and educate our community about the benefits of safe sleep practices, we hope to eliminate sleep-related deaths for our families. While 2019 data has shown fewer SIDS cases in Florida and Leon County than in years prior, our work continues because even one infant death is one too many.
For more information about how TMH supports growing families, visit TMH.ORG.