SIDS prevention: Health department urging parents to take action, promote infant safe sleep

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging parents and guardians to maintain a safe sleep environment for children.

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, and health officials say SIDS remains one of the top three causes of infant deaths in Oklahoma.

According to the health department, SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation that includes an autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the infant’s and families’ clinical histories.

Health officials add that “SIDS is part of the broader category of sudden unexplained infant death, which also encompasses the categories of undetermined infant deaths, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. Undetermined infant deaths have no known cause, but are often preventable due to the presence of evidence of an unsafe sleep environment.”

The OSDH encourages parents to maintain a safe sleep environment for children, promoting the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on safe sleep.

The health department says parents should follow these safe sleep steps:

  • Put your baby on their back to sleep every time for bedtime and naps.
  • Use a firm sleep surface.
  • Avoid tobacco exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Place the infant in their sleep space alone with no loose bedding or other objects.
  • Breastfeed if possible (this has been shown to reduce risk of SIDS by 50%).
  • Practice room-sharing with an infant but not bed-sharing.

For more information on safe sleep, click here.

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