Safe Sleeping for Your Baby
REMSA reports four babies died in Washoe County in a six-week period at the end of 2015 and it says unsafe sleeping environments are to blame. How can we provide a safe space for our babies while they slumber? Tips in tonight's Health Watch.
Ashleigh Harvey is the proud mother of precious Judah. "He's wonderful. He's sweet and cuddly and loves to smile." Her seven-week-old baby boy brings lots of joy, but Ashleigh admits she worries while he sleeps. "I wake up all the time making sure he's still breathing. If he sleeps longer than normal, I wake up in a panic.” So Ashleigh keeps Judah close in her room, but in his own space without blankets and bumper pads. According to REMSA, that is a smart choice. “So room share, keep that baby's sleep environment in the same room, but don't bed share,” explains Regina Washington who runs the Cribs for Kids program as REMSA’s Community Program Coordinator. "They're entrapped in blankets. They're overlaid by parents."
Washoe County social workers echo the importance of safe sleeping environments - citing alarming statistics. "In 2015, we investigated 10 child fatalities. Of those ten, six were related to unsafe sleep situations,” says Jeanne Marsh, the Children’s Services Division Director with Washoe County’s Department of Social Services.
To prevent accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed, REMSA says parents should use the ABCs of safe sleep practices right from the start to ensure all children sleep safe and grow healthy.
Alone: Keep your baby's sleep area close but separate from where others sleep. Your baby should not sleep with others in a bed, on a couch, or in a chair.
Back: Your baby should be placed to sleep on his or her back in a safety-approved crib on a firm mattress every time-including during naps and at night.
Crib: Remove all loose bedding, comforters, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals bumpers, wedges, and pillows from your baby's crib.
To keep babies warm, REMSA encourages the use of sleep sacks. “You just want to zip this onto the infant and now you have a blanket." The owner of the Nurturing Nest on Longley Lane in Reno swaddled her babies. Rachel Ching agrees things like pillows and wedges should be kept out of cribs, but the birth and postpartum doula – who is also a mother - doesn't think parents should feel guilty about co-sleeping. "Babies often sleep better when they're next to their mothers." While she doesn't oppose co-sleeping, she encourages parents to keep blankets and pillows away from baby in your bed. She also says make sure neither parent is impaired. "Having a co-sleeper next to the bed within arm's reach in the same room as the caregivers is definitely the safest place for the first six months."
As for Ashleigh, she says like many parents she's fallen asleep with her baby, too. However, she really tries hard to provide the safest place for Judah to sleep like a baby.
To learn more about the Nurturing Nest and all the classes it offers, from prenatal yoga to postpartum fitness and music for children, log onto http://www.nurturingnestreno.com/.
The Cribs for Kids program offers families who cannot afford for create a safe sleeping environment for their baby the tools to do so. A kit, which includes a pack-n-play with mesh sides, a sleep sack, a pacifier and others educational materials, will be provided to families in need along with a mandatory class. To learn more about that, click on: http://www.safekidswc.com/v2/programs/cribs-for-kids/.