Guest Post by: Carol Facca, MA (Tomorrow’s Child/Michigan SIDS)
Twenty-five years ago I delivered my first child, a health baby boy that we named Blake Anthony. When Blake was born, I felt I had learned what life was all about. Life wasn’t about my career or any material successes; life was about being a mom. I never felt such a heaven sent feeling of love and joy and then, Blake died. There were no words to describe my shock and devastation. It wasn’t until four months after Blake died that I fully realized he wasn’t coming back. I had an unreal glimmer of hope that I had sufficiently suffered, if I wished hard enough, yearned deeply enough, then Blake would come back. I felt I deserved his return. Needless to say, reality set in and I’ve turned my grief into a lifetime of supporting the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants between one month and one year of age. SIDS is just one type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or SUID, which includes those deaths with a known cause, such as suffocation, over-laying, asphyxia or other sleep related causes.
For SIDS Awareness Month, the United States has launched an expanded campaign not only to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but all sleep related, sudden unexpected infant deaths. This new campaign is led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Child Development, and I have been chosen as one of 40 safe to sleep champions across the United States. As a champion, my goal is to educate the community on the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on infant safe sleep practices.
Please support my continued efforts and help spread the key campaign messages to keep all babies sleeping safely and reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep related infant deaths:
- Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night
- Put baby in a separate sleep area in the same room where you sleep, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable play area.
- Use a firm sleep mattress, covered by a fitted sheet
- Never use pillows, blankets, sheepskins or bumper pads in baby’s sleep area
- Keep all objects, toys, stuffed animals out of baby sleep area
- Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby
- Make sure nothing ever covers the baby’s face or head
- Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, such as one piece sleeper, do not use a blanket
- Babies should never sleep alone or with you in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair
Tummy time is important when baby is awake and when someone is watching. Tummy time helps your baby’s head, neck and shoulder muscles get stronger.
Please visit www.tomorrowschildmi.org or call 800-331-7437 for more information. Tomorrow’s Child/Michigan SIDS is the designated resource for infant safe sleep education in the state of Michigan.