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Safe to Sleep has infants in focus

SPRINGVILLE — Each year, many children die, after being put down for naps or nighttime sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an average of 4,200 infants die, each year, due to sudden infant death syndrome or sleep-related suffocation. SIDS is the leading cause of infant death among children 1 – 12 months old.

The Safe to Sleep Campaign and Southern Tier Health Care System have joined together in a stated goal of protecting children.

Organizers have released several steps that parents can take, to reduce their children’s risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths.

– Place babies on their backs to sleep, for both naps and at night.

– Always put babies back into a separate sleep area, such as a crib, bassinet or portable play area, if they are brought into the parents’ bed, for any reason.

– Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death.

SIDS is the sudden death of a baby younger than 1 year old. These occurrences do not have known causes, even following complete investigations.

The Safe to Sleep campaign is an initiative of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The most recent endeavor was built on the institute’s 1994 Back to Sleep campaign.

SIDS rates have dropped 50 percent since 1994, but have plateaued at their current level, for several years.

Southern Tier Health Care System has joined the Safe to Sleep campaign.

Southern Tier Health Care System President and CEO Donna Kahm said that, although SIDS can be a scary thing for new parents to think about, “Research has shown that, by [following] safe sleep guidelines, parents and caregivers can greatly reduce the risk of SIDS. The rules are simple. Infants sleep safest alone, on their backs and on a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet.”

For more information, visit the Safe to Sleep website, www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS.

For more information about Southern Tier Health Care System and its programs, visit www.sthcs.org.
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