Safe Kids NY, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital launch Safe Sleep Campaign

Safe Kids Upstate NY Coalition, which is supported by Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, is launching a Safe Sleep Awareness Campaign to remind parents to keep their child’s sleeping environment free of clutter and encourage safe sleeping practices.

“The only safe crib is an empty crib, except for the baby,” said Clemencia Molina, regional coordinator of the Sudden Infant and Child Death Resource Center, during a media launch of the Safe Sleep Awareness Campaign Oct. 22 at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.  “No blankets, no pillow, no bumpers, no stuffed animals, just baby.”

The clutter, Molina says, can lead to suffocation of the infant, especially if the baby were to turn and have its mouth and nose obstructed by one of these soft objects.  “A baby’s death is devastating, not just for the family, but also the community.  It’s not supposed to happen.”

Instead of bundling baby up in covers, Linda McAleer, director of nursing for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, recommends parents use a sleep sack to keep baby warm, snuggly and safe. The sleep sacks keep babies safe, because the sack is attached in a way that it cannot come loose and cover the baby’s face.

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital will give sleep sacks to parents of infant patients at the children’s hospital and children born at the Jim and Dede Walsh Family Birth Center at Upstate’s Community Campus, while supplies last. The sleep sacks, made possible by Safe Kids Upstate NY and the Foundation for Upstate Medical University, will also be made available to its coalition partners: Reach CNY, Children’s Consortium and Madison County Maternal Health and Cortland County Maternal Health programs. Safe Kids has several thousand sleep sacks to give away.

In addition to the sleep sacks, parents and caregivers will also receive tips and recommended guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

While the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has dropped by more than 50 percent since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its recommendation that infants be placed on their backs for sleep, babies still die due to unsafe sleep environments. The goal of the awareness campaign is to provide families with this critical risk-reduction information.

“One baby’s death is one death too many,” McAleer said.

Caption: A doll in a sleep sack and a sleeping environment free of clutter is used to illustrate a safe sleeping environment for infants

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