– The House unanimously passed a resolution authored by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union), that designates the month of November 2020 as “Infant Safe Sleep Month” in Pennsylvania.
“Preventative education is key to avoiding the unnecessary death of an infant,” said Everett. “I encourage all new parents to make learning about safe sleep practices their No. 1 priority, especially during these unprecedented times where loved ones are perhaps not around as often to help out and supervise infants. Sadly, we have seen an uptick in the number of infant deaths in Lycoming County this year caused by unsafe sleep areas, according to our coroner.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be placed on their backs for sleep, and that the safest environment for sleep consists of babies sleeping alone in an empty crib with a tightly fitted sheet and sufficient sleepwear. The baby should have a firm sleep surface and breastfeeding is recommended. It is not recommended to “bed share” or keep soft objects and loose bedding in their sleep area, as these increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Other recommendations include the avoidance of prenatal alcohol and/or illicit drug use, and avoiding overheating and head covering of infants. Pregnant women should obtain regular prenatal care and should avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations, such as “in-bed sleepers.”
“We must continue to provide families and day-care providers with the greatest amount of information to help prevent unnecessary infant deaths,” Everett added. “Parents and other caregivers must remember that babies must always be placed to sleep on their backs until they are 1 year old.”
Everett has worked with Lycoming County Coroner Chuck Kiessling for several years on raising awareness about safe sleep practices for infants.
“Over the past year, we have tragically lost 4 babies in unsafe sleep environments in Lycoming County,” said Kiessling. “With the help of local and state officials as well as hospitals, and other childhood involved agencies, we will continue to educate our community about infant safe sleep in an effort to reduce the number of babies dying, as even one death is too many.
“According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should sleep alone, on their backs, in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheet, nothing else,” Kiessling added. “Parents or caregivers should share their room, but not their bed with baby for the first year of his/her life. Wearable blankets should be used instead of sheets and comforters and the room should be 72-75 degrees Farenheight so that baby does not get too cold or overheat. It is important to remember that baby should sleep in a crib for every sleep, including naps. Sleeping in car seats should only occur while a vehicle is in motion. Car seats, strollers, swings, or other infant inclined sleepers, automated rockers, or bouncy seats are not to be used for sleeping. Breastfeeding is recommended as well as a pacifier. Babies should not be exposed to cigarette smoke. It is incredibly important to put baby to sleep the same way every time and to make sure other caregivers know the importance of consistent safe sleep practices.
“If you or someone you know is unable to provide a crib for their baby, please have them click here
to find their nearest Cribs for Kids partner to receive a free Cribette.”
The Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for Safe Sleep for Babies can be found here
. For more information on infant sleep safety visit this site
Representative Garth D. Everett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Haas