Every week in Ohio, three babies die in unsafe sleep environments. These deaths don’t have to happen! It is safest for your baby to follow the ABCs of safe sleep — Alone on their Back in a Crib. Every baby, every sleep!

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed. Never place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, cushions or soft surfaces. The safest place to put an infant to sleep is in a crib that meets current standards and has no soft bedding. You can still keep your little one close by, just not in your bed. You could put a safety approved bassinet, pack n play, or crib next to your bed. This can help you maintain closeness, which can be especially important if you are breastfeeding.

Dress your baby in sleep clothing, such as a sleep sack, and do not use a blanket. Avoid letting the baby get too hot by keeping the room temperatures in a range comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Breastfeeding is also recommended to help to reduce the risk of SIDS. Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bedtime once breastfeeding is well established as this too is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Avoid tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth and place the crib in an area that is always smoke free. Quitting tobacco use or at least going outside to smoke is the best way to decrease your baby’s exposure to secondhand smoke. If you would like assistance with quitting smoking, contact the health department at 740-342-5179. One of our Tobacco Treatment Specialist will be able to help you.

Talk to those who care for your baby, including childcare providers, family members and friends about placing your baby to sleep on his or her back for every sleep. Obtain regular prenatal care to reduce the risk of SIDS even before birth. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.

Are you worried that the place where your baby sleeps may not be safe? We can help! Even during the time of COVID-19, the Health Department can still 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 one of the Health Educators.

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 perrycountyhealth.info

Deborah Raney is a weekly contributor to the Perry County Tribune

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