For Immediate Release: November 9, 2018
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153 / 802-863-7281
New Resources for Creating a Safe Sleep Environment for Baby
BURLINGTON – Unsafe sleep environments are responsible for four to six infant deaths in Vermont each year. To help avoid these tragedies, the Vermont Department of Health has launched its Infant Safe Sleep campaign – sharing information, tips and guidance for everyone who takes care of babies.
A safe sleep environment means ensuring there is nothing where the baby sleeps that could prevent their ability to breathe because something covers their mouth or nose. Some of these things may be blankets, pillows, bumpers, toys, loose clothing, or even pets and other people. Babies can get also accidentally become wedged in mattresses, recliners or between couch cushions and pillows.
The Health Department conducted research and interviews with a diverse group of Vermont parents and caregivers, asking what they know about safe sleep, and what they do when putting a baby to bed. The findings showed that parents are concerned about their children’s safety, but may not know the best way to create a safe sleep environment. Based on this, the department developed a suite of resources for Vermont health care providers and families.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said achieving a completely safe sleep arrangement can be difficult for parents and caregivers. “These resources were created to help make it as easy as possible to reduce the risk of harm to infants,” said Dr. Levine. “It’s important that people know the key things to do to keep their child safe — like putting your baby to sleep on their back, in a safety-approved crib with no other objects in there with them.”
The Safe Sleep resources are available at the Health Department website healthvermont.gov, and public health nurses at the department’s 12 local health offices are providing outreach to families, organizations that support parents, and to Vermont’s birth hospitals.
The state also has ongoing partnerships that bring together public health and clinical medicine to educate and support parents and caregivers about how to promote safe sleep practices and to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). The Children’s Hospital at the University of Vermont Medical Center participates in the Cribs for Kids program, providing portable cribs to families who need a safe place for their babies to sleep. Nurses at the medical center also educate new families using the Health Department’s Safe Sleep resources and follow up with parents when their babies are a few weeks old to reinforce these practices.
Find more information and watch our 30 second video at: healthvermont.gov/safesleep
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