October: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

October is SIDS Awareness Month.  Read on to learn more about safe infant sleep and tips that families, early care and education providers can take to help keep babies healthy and safe.

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month!

By Katherine A. Beckmann, Ph.D, M.P.H., Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Health and Development

Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood

About 3,500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States. These deaths are the result of unknown causes, Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB), and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is defined as an unidentified cause of death in a baby younger than one year, even after the performance of an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the infant’s and family’s clinical histories. Most SIDS deaths occur when babies are between one and four months of age and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before six months. However, SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby’s first year. Approximately, 20 percent of SIDS-related deaths occur in child care settings.

The Safe to Sleep® campaign (formerly known as Back to Sleep®) aims to educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce to the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Over the past two decades, we’ve made great progress in helping to reduce the risk of SIDS by more than 50 percent across the country, as a whole. However, disparities still exist.  For example, African American infants are twice as likely as white infants to die of SIDS. Similarly, American Indian/Alaska Native infants are three times as likely as white infants to die of SIDS.

How can you make a safe sleep environment?

  • Always place baby on his or her back to sleep for all sleep times, including naps.
  • Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. Try room sharing—keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room next to where you sleep
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet
  • Keep soft objects, toys, pillows, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area
  • Dress your baby in no more than one layer of clothing more than an adult would wear to be comfortable, and leave the blanket out of the crib. A one-piece sleeper or wearable blanket can be used for sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.

What can you do to spread the word?

Now is a great time to start planning October events to get the word out about safe infant sleep! Here are ideas and free resources to help you plan SIDS Awareness Month activities:

  • Community events: Set up a booth at community events, such as health fairs, state fairs, or downtown markets.
  • Educational seminars: Organize an educational seminar or presentation with specific populations, such as African American congregations, early childhood education students, first responders, or older community members.
  • Fundraising events: If you’re hosting a fundraising event, include Safe to Sleep® materials in the registration packet.
  • Public Service Announcements: Ask your local radio or TV station to share information about SIDS. If you have local stories to include, broadcasts with testimony from parents affected by infant death can be particularly powerful.
  • Display Resources: Create a display with information or brochures for use in children’s hospitals, barber shops and hair salons, obstetrician offices, and pediatrician offices.
  • For Familieso   Parents’ Guide to Safe Sleepo   A grandparents brochure on safe infant sleep (English and en español)

    o   A safe sleep environment one-pager (English and en español)

  • For General Education Training:o   A Safe Infant Sleep video in English and en español.o   Healthy Native Babies Project materials for American Indian/Alaska Native communities

    o   Brochures for general outreach as well as African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic communities

For more information, please visit http://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov, http://www.cdc.gov/sids/index.htm, and http://www.healthychildcare.org/SIDS.html.


Learn About Parent Child Interaction Therapy of Siouxland On YouTube!

Check out Parent Child Interaction Therapy of Siouxland on YouTube!

PCIT of Siouxland is an organization that utilizes the treatment of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for conduct-disordered young children that improves the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns. In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child while increasing their child’s prosocial behavior and decreasing negative behavior.


Rooted in Relationships

Rooted in Relationships is a statewide initiative that helps Nebraska communities support the social and emotional development of children from birth through age 8. Rooted communities encourage early childhood environments that promote positive social-emotional development, help establish shared statewide priorities and assessment, and strive to make continuous improvements.

Currently at work in three Nebraska communities, Rooted in Relationships is working with key stakeholders to develop systems that prevent mental health issues in early childhood and respond effectively and compassionately to children who need care. Our goal is socially and emotionally health children, reduced stress for families, greater success in school and more positive life outcomes.

For more information, please visit: www.rootedinrelationships.org.