Infant mortality rates due to accidental suffocation in bed are increasing at an alarming rate in Montana and nationwide. Every year in the U.S., there are approximately 3,500 SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and SUID (sudden unexpected infant deaths) due to accidental suffocation, strangulation or undetermined causes during sleep. About 90 percent of all of these sleep-related deaths are preventable with proper education of parents and certain safety protocols. Community Medical Center is leading the charge in Montana. To lower the risk of SUDI occurring, practice the ABC’s of safe sleep (Alone, Back, Crib).
Always place baby alone to sleep. Co-sleeping raises the risk of SUDI. Room sharing is encouraged and can lower risk of SUDI.
Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep, never on their side or stomach.
Babies should have their own sleep environment such as a crib, bassinet, or playpen.
- Always practice the ABCs of safe sleep
- Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet only.
- Baby's sleep area is in the same room, next to where parents sleep.
- Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you or with anyone else. These are dangerous places for babies to sleep and increases their risk of suffocation and entrapment.
- Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your baby.
- Do not put pillows, blankets, sheepskins or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby's sleep area. Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area. Make sure nothing covers the baby's head. All of these items pose a hazard for suffocation and entrapment.
- Dress your baby in sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket. Do not use a loose blanket and do not overbundle. Overheating can increase the risk of SUDI. Babies only need light sleep clothing. If the room temperature is comfortable for you, it is comfortable for baby.
- Once your baby can roll over, stop using a swaddle and only use a sleep sack.
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
- Breastfeeding lowers risk of SUDI.
- Talk to your baby’s caregivers (grandparents, childcare providers, etc.) about safe sleep. Make sure that everybody who cares for your baby is aware of best practices so your child is sleeping safely at all times.
If your infant has a special healthcare consideration that makes following safe sleep best practices a challenge, we encourage you to reach out to your pediatrician.
Community is one of only 100 hospitals in the U.S. — and the first in Montana — to have obtained Gold Level Safe Sleep Certification from Cribs for Kids, a national Safe Sleep Hospital certification program, and Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation. One of our current initiatives, in partnership with Cribs for Kids, is to provide Graco Pack ‘n Play portable cribs at no cost to families who cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep.
We have implemented infant safe sleep protocols including:
- Using swaddle sleep sacks rather than having babies swaddled in blankets;
- Ensuring all hats fit properly so they do not cover the baby’s face;
- Removing all stuffed animals, blankets and bumpers from the crib;
- Educating all families on safe sleep practices.