OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health is offering some tips to ensure safe sleep for your baby.

According to OSDH, one of the leading causes of death in babies 1 – 12 months old is related to sleep. Things like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation and strangulation while in bed can all contribute.

“We don’t want any Oklahoma family to experience the death of a baby,” said James Craig, the OSDH Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator. “There are things families can do to help reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths and we encourage parents and guardians to follow recommendations.”

Officials say data from the 2021 Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) shows the sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) infant mortality rate (IMR) was 1.4 babies per 1,000 live births.

SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than one year of age that does not have a known cause. SUID describes all infant sleep-related deaths, including those for which the cause is identified, according to OSDH.

OSDH says parents can help lower the risk of SIDS or SUID by having infants sleep in their room, close to their bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, preferably for at least the first six months.

“There are products that seem safe for a sleeping infant, like certain loungers or using breast feeding pillows as “loungers”, but they are not, they pose a suffocation risk for babies,” Craig added.

According to officials, the safest place for a baby to sleep is a crib, portable crib (pack n play), or bassinet (bassinets are only approved for the first six months at most, with some less than that). The key to a safe sleep environment is a firm and flat surface to decrease the risk of suffocation or wedging/entrapment.

Also, OSDH added that babies should only sleep wearing a onesie and wearable blanket (sleep sack) without anything else in the sleep space.

Other tips provided by OSDH include:

  • Offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Breastfeeding until 12 months, when possible.
  • Having regular supervised “tummy time” when baby is awake.
  • Setting “smoke-free” rules around you and your baby before and after birth.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Not using weighted blankets, weighted sleepers, weighted swaddles, or other weighted objects placed on or near the sleeping infant.

To learn more, visit oklahoma.gov.