The end of summer gives us a chance to not only celebrate the many things we can do to keep babies safe, but also to honor a group of caregivers that helps us keep babies safe.
Whether you’re a new parent, buying a gift for expectant parents, or a service provider who advises parents on caring for baby, it can be difficult to navigate the world of baby items and safety. September is Baby Safety Month, and our collaborators at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offer tips on how parents, caregivers, and anyone who cares for baby can learn to create a hazard-free home and choose products that are safe for babies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also offers this list of essential items for when baby comes home. The list describes appropriate cribs, bedding, changing tables, humidifiers, and other items. It also offers advice on setting up a nursery that is not only clean and safe but meets the needs of a growing baby.
September 9th is also Grandparents Day, a time to honor the Nanas and Papas, Abuelas and Abuelos, and Lolas and Lolos for everything they do to keep babies and families safe and well. Statistics show that, in 2013, 1 in 10 children lived with a grandparent in their home, and that for 3 million of those children, a grandparent was the primary caregiver.1 It is no wonder grandparents are often called the “cornerstone of the family.” Grandparents can play a significant role in caring for babies, whether by influencing parents’ safe infant sleep practices, choosing items for babies, or caring for babies directly. To help grandparents learn about the latest safe infant sleep recommendations, share the following resources with them and be sure to thank them for being a safe infant sleep champion across generations!
You can share the Safe to Sleep® campaign’s brochure for grandparents to explain safe sleep practices and help answer their questions. It is available in English and Spanish.
Q. How should I respond to caregivers who want to use sitting devices such as car seats, strollers, swings, and infant carriers and slings as baby’s routine sleep area?
A. Although it is common for babies to fall asleep while in a sitting device, the Task Force does not recommend these areas for routine sleep. Babies younger than 4 months of age have weak neck muscles, resulting in poor head control. When they remain in a sitting device for extended periods, babies may experience head flexion, increasing the risk of airway obstruction and oxygen loss—a condition known as positional suffocation or positional asphyxia. A recent study found that car seat deaths often result from positional suffocation or strangulation from the straps.1 Car seat injuries can also occur when the device is set on elevated or unstable surfaces and then falls or is overturned.2
It is important to remind caregivers that infants who fall asleep in a sitting device should not be left unattended and should be moved to a safe sleeping environment as soon as possible. Remember, baby’s routine sleep area should be a safety-approved crib*, bassinet, or play yard.
Batra, E. K., Midgett, J. D., & Moon, R. Y. (2015). Hazards associated with sitting and carrying devices for children two years and younger. Journal of Pediatrics, 167(1), 183–187. Doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.03.044
Pollack-Nelson, C. (2000). Fall and suffocation injuries associated with in-home use of car seats and baby carriers. Pediatric Emergency Care, 16(2), 77–79. PMID:10784205
*A crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that follows the safety standards of the CPSC is recommended. For information on crib safety, contact the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 or http://www.cpsc.gov.
Participate in the #SafeSleepSnap Challenge
For SIDS Awareness Month in October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NICHD are teaming up to encourage people to share photos of babies (up to 12 months of age) in a safe sleep environment (PDF, 1.4 MB) to help educate others about safe infant sleep. Encourage your followers to participate during the month of October by sharing the following social media posts.
Social Media Posts to Share
Do you know what a safe sleep environment for baby looks like? If so, share a photo of your baby on your social media account using #SafeSleepSnap! Raise awareness among your followers about ways they can reduce baby’s risk of SIDS during #SIDSAwarenessMonth. #SafeToSleep
During #SIDSAwarenessMonth, through October 31st, take a pic of your baby, grandbaby, or niece/nephew in a safe sleep environment & share on social media using #SafeSleepSnap. Remember: safe sleep environments are firm, flat, & free of soft and loose items! And babies sleep safest on their backs! #SafeToSleep
A Safe Sleep Environment for Baby
The Safe to Sleep® campaign offers a one pager you can use to help explain to grandparents how to create a safe sleep environment for baby. This resource highlights placing baby on his or her back for all sleep times, sharing a room—but not a bed—and having a firm and flat sleep surface for baby. It also emphasizes items that do not belong in baby’s sleep area, as well as the recommendations for safe infant sleep clothing and portable play yards.
Cribs for Kids®, a Safe to Sleep® partner, began 20 years ago as a resource for organizations that work to reduce infant mortality by reducing the risk of sleep-related deaths. To support this goal, Cribs for Kids® educates the public about the importance of safe sleep and works to ensure babies—especially those whose families are in need—have safe sleeping environments.
The organization’s National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program gives local hospitals the necessary tools to ensure that every healthcare professional, staff member, and new parent is educated about the importance of safe sleep. Cribs for Kids® partners with law enforcement agencies and first responders to expand their community policing policies to provide safe sleep tips and free portable cribs to families in need. The organization’s Managed Care Organization (MCO) Prenatal Incentive Program works with MCOs to provide incentives for expectant mothers to attend all prenatal visits, helping to increase the possibility of a good birth outcome. Additionally, the organization’s Safe Sleep Ambassador Program gives its partners and their families an opportunity to become certified as infant Safe Sleep Ambassadors.