The ABCs of sleep safety for your baby

Published: Nov. 8, 2017 at 6:06 PM CST
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New numbers emerged today relating to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And the state of Minnesota is making an extra push to make sure parents know how to keep children safe while they sleep.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s as easy as A, B, C.

A: The babies should sleep alone.

B: On their backs.

And C: In their own cribs.

Governor Mark Dayton marks this week Infant Safe Sleep Week in Minnesota.

Nicole Lien, a registered nurse at Essentia Health add that the only thing in the crib should be the baby.

"No extra swaddles, no extra extra toys," she said.

Susan Castellano of the Minnesota Health Department says these tips can be lifesaving.

"We've done some new analysis of our sudden infant deaths in Minnesota in 2015," she said.

Out of 54 sleep-related deaths for infants in 2015, 53 resulted from unsafe sleep environments—meaning they were preventable.

Of the deaths, more than 90 percent had loose objects like pillows and blankets in the crib. Nearly half the babies shared the sleeping space with another person. Almost a third were in an unsafe sleep position, like on their bellies.

A few more facts to keep in mind:

Parents should relay safety info to babysitters and relatives.

"We do see deaths happen when the parents know everything to do,” Castellano said, “and unfortunately the person caring for the baby at that moment did not."

Also, certain demographics are at a higher risk. The death rate for African American and American Indian babies is twice as high as for white infants.

"Some people don't always have the opportunity to provide a healthy safe sleep environment for their child," Castellano said.

Here in North Dakota, the numbers of sudden infant death syndrome are much lower. Only 47 deaths have been recorded from 2011-2015, compared to 54 in the past year in Minnesota.

Officials attribute that to a much lower birth rate in North Dakota than in Minnesota.