The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) dedicates the month of October as SIDS awareness month. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that does not have a known cause even after a complete investigation. SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.

SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” or “cot death” because it is associated with the time when the baby is sleeping. Cribs themselves do not cause SIDS, but the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.

The Safe to Sleep® campaign, formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign, focuses on actions you and others can take to help your baby sleep safely and to reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Those actions include:

• Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night

• Use a firm and flat sleep surface such as a mattress in an approved crib covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleep area

• Breastfeed your baby

• Share your room with the baby. Keep your baby close to your bed, but in a separate sleep environment

• Do not put toys, bumpers, or loose bedding under or over the baby

• Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep

• Do not smoke during your pregnancy

• Think about giving your baby a pacifier at naps and at night

• Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and supervised

• Make sure all your baby’s caregivers understand how to reduce the risks of sleep related infant death

Are you worried that the place where your baby sleeps may not be safe? We can help! The Health Department can provide you with a safe sleep environment (Pack N Play) for your baby. Call the office at 740-342-5179 and ask to speak to Chad Seurkamp or Lesa Garey.

Do you need help quitting tobacco during your pregnancy? Contact the health department at 740-342-5179. One of our Tobacco Treatment Specialist will be happy to help you.

The Perry County Health Department is working to keep you healthy where you live, work and play. For more information about any program or service offered by the Perry County Health Department, contact us at 740-342-5179 or visit us on online at

Deborah Raney is the Director of Health Education and a weekly contributor to the Perry County Tribune.

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