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MN Department of Health Study Reveals Safest Infant Sleeping Habits

Taylor Holt
November 08, 2017 10:57 PM

Do you know the safest sleep habits for your infant? The Minnesota Department of Health is pushing efforts to help parents keep their babies sleeping safely.

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"If you can do something to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, every parent would want to do that," said Lori Swanson,  Nurse Manager for Maternal Child Health with St. Luke's.

That's why the hospital is trying to be proactive when it comes to the issue. They did that by becoming Safe Sleep Certified last year.

"Education was needed for our staff," said Swanson. 

The hospital is the first in Minnesota to receive the certification by maintaining a safe sleep policy. The policy includes annually training staff on safe sleep practices, auditing progress, using sleep sacks instead of blankets and providing education to parents prior to discharge.

It's something The Minnesota Department of Health encourages especially after their latest 2015 study on infant deaths.

"53 of 54 deaths that happened while infants slept happened in unsafe sleep environments," said Susan Castellano, Maternal and Child Health Director for the department.

The study revealed 93% of babies in those cases had loose objects around them like pillows or blankets and were not placed on a firm crib mattress and almost half (49%) were sharing a sleep surface with another person.

Overall, unsafe sleep environments account for nearly all unexpected infant deaths in the state.

"There are many things a mom and a family can do to keep infants safer," said Lisa Konicek, St. Louis County Public Health Nurse.

A key take away is for parents or caregivers to know the ABC's of safe sleep. A - babies should sleep alone, B- they should always be put on their back and C - they should always sleep or nap in their own a safety-approved crib.

"Have the baby sleeping with you in the room, if you'd like but (have them) sleeping in a separate spot," said Konicek.

Experts say parents and caregivers should pay attention to what's in the crib.

"If it's cuddly, fuzzy or cozy, get it out," Konicek added.

After the remodel of their birthing center, St. Luke's says they started enforcing these practices. 

"All of our babies wear a Halo sleep sack," said Swanson. "The sleep sack is the only American Academy of Pediatrics certified blanket that is safe for infant sleep."

Most importantly, educating staff and parents on safe habits is an essential practice.

"It's essential that we provide the education," said Swanson.

More study results:

The State Health Department analysis of sudden unexpected infant death in 2015 revealed 9% of new moms report that their health care providers did not talk to them about how to lay their babies down to sleep. 

27% of babies in the study were in an unsafe sleep position, such as being placed on their belly or side.

The Health Department also noted that in Minnesota, the rate of sudden unexpected infant deaths is two times higher for infants born to African American and American Indian mothers compared to white mothers. 

In contrast, the rates are lowest among infants born to Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic mothers. 

Co-rooming, where the baby sleeps in their own safe crib but is still nearby for breast feeding and night-time sleeping is a positive alternative to sleeping with an infant. A safe sleep environment is just as important during naptime as it is during night-time sleeping.

 


Credits

Taylor Holt

Copyright 2017 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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