Written by Beverly Strnad, RN, Public Health Nurse, Alamosa County Public Health Department

Safe Sleep For Every Baby

Every baby in the San Luis Valley can have a safe crib thanks to a partnership between San Luis Valley Health, all of the SLV Public Health Departments and Cribs for Kids®.  

San Luis Valley public health departments applied in unison for child fatality prevention funding to purchase Graco® Pack ‘n Play® portable cribs through Cribs for Kids®. Since 1998, Cribs for Kids® National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative has been making an impact on reducing the rate of infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation, asphyxia, or undetermined causes in unsafe sleeping environments. Cribs for Kids®, headquartered in Pittsburgh, has a mission to prevent these deaths, by education and by providing Graco® Pack ‘n Play® portable cribs. The Cribs for Kids® program uses Graco products because it is a trusted brand for safety, has a knowledgeable compliance team and testing is completed on all products to make sure they meet or exceed all applicable standards. The Cribs for Kids®Unit cannot be returned to a retail outlet by the client for cash or store credit, assuring that the unit will be used for its intended purpose. To date, Cribs for Kids® has distributed over 250,000 cribs in the United States.

Pictured here with the first safe crib giveaway are, from Left to Right: SLV Health Nurses from the Labor and Delivery Floor: Connie Duarte, Anna Salazar, Beverly Strnad from Alamosa County Public Health, holding baby boy Harley Eicher is Amber Abeyta, CarrieAnn Mondragon, Heather Rodman, and Sarah Herrera.

More than 3,500 sudden, unexpected infant deaths occur each year. Research shows that up to 90% of the deaths are accidental due to placing babies to sleep in unsafe sleeping environments. These deaths are preventable.

To prevent sleep-related deaths due to unsafe sleeping environments, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), Cribs for Kids®, and most safe sleep experts recommend these guidelines:

#1  The safest way for your baby to sleep is Alone (no bed-sharing), on the Back, in a safety-approved Crib with no pillows, no bumper pads, no stuffed animals, and no comforters.

#2  The baby’s crib should be in the parents’ room, if possible.  Room-share, don’t bed-share!

  • Railings that are not more than 2⅜ inches apart. (You should not be able to fit a soda can through them.)
  • A firm mattress that fits snugly in the frame.
  • A fitted sheet that is tight around the mattress.
  • No quilts, comforters, duvets, heavy blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads, sheepskins, etc. These items can obstruct the baby’s breathing. A wearable blanket is recommended.

#3  Take care of yourself and your baby – Eat well and see your doctor regularly; get all required immunizations for your baby.

#4  Do not overheat or overdress your baby – If you’re comfortable, baby is comfortable. Don’t overheat or overdress your baby. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult (between 68-72 degrees F).

#5  No smoking around baby –  There should be no smoking near pregnant women or infants.  This goes for you and anyone else around your baby.  Smoke increases the risk of an unsafe sleep environment and other health problems.  Set strict rules for smoke free homes and cars and eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke from all places in which children and other nonsmokers spend time.

#6  Breastfeed your baby if you can – Breastfed babies have less colds and ear infections.

#7  Consider offering a pacifier  at nap time and bedtime once breastfeeding has been established.

#8  DO NOT BED-SHARE –  The act of bringing an infant into a sleep environment with adults, other children, or pets puts the baby in danger of suffocating, either by being smothered in bedding; by positional asphyxia, which occurs when a baby’s position prevents them person from breathing adequately; or by being accidentally rolled over by a sleeping companion (overlay). A BABY WHO BED-SHARES IS AT 40 TIMES GREATER RISK OF DYING.

#9  ROOM-SHARE – Babies should sleep on a close, but separate, surface in the same room as the caregiver.  The AAP recommends that a parent and infant sleep within a “sensory” distance of each other, meaning that each can tell that the other is near, by their touch, sight, or even smell. 

#10 Tummy Time –  Tummy time is for babies who are awake and being watched. Your baby needs this to develop strong muscles.

According to PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System) results from 2011-2014, 78.2% of San Luis Valley respondents reported placing their infants on their back to sleep, compared to 85.8% for Colorado.

San Luis Valley Health’s OB department provides education about AAP-recommended safe sleep practices to the family of every baby born here. In addition, they will now be providing a voucher to each family to take to their county public health department to get a Pack N’ Play, ensuring that every baby has a safe place to sleep.

Public Health Nurses will reinforce safe sleep education and issue a brand-new Pack N’ Play which has been purchased from Cribs for Kids®. Nurses will also have additional safe sleep materials in English and Spanish.

Participating Public Health Department information:

Alamosa County Public Health Department 8900B Independence Way, Alamosa  719-589-6639 Mon-Fri 8-4:30  **you can come to Alamosa no matter whatcounty you live in**

Conejos County Nursing Service and Public Health19023 Highway 285, La Jara  719-274-4307Tues-Thurs 9-3:30

Costilla County Public Health Agenc y233 Main Street, Suite C, San Luis 719-672-3332Mon-Thurs 7-5:30

Rio Grande Public Health Agency 925 6th Street, Room 101, Del Norte 719-657-3352Mon-Fri 8-4:00, closed noon-1:00

Saguache County Public Health Agency 505 Third Street, Saguache 719-655-2533Mon-Fri 8-4:00

 

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