If you're a parent, chances are you've probably heard the term SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or "safe sleep". If you haven't, this month is all about raising awareness for it.

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The Linn County Safe Sleep Task Force stated in a press release that "3,500 infants in the U.S. die annually from sleep-related infant deaths." This startling statistic is why it's so "important for all caregivers to practice safe sleep for infants." This was something healthcare workers spoke on frequently after I had my son. There are certain things we can do as parents to keep our little ones safe. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines include the following ABC's:

  • A- "Alone": This is a big one. Share a room, not a bed, with baby. Also make sure nothing else is in their sleep space. No pillows, blankets, bumper pads, boppy pillows, or toys in the space. You can also dress your baby in layers or use a sleep sack. I went the sleep sack route, as my little one likes to squirm at night and the sleep sack stays on him and keeps him warm.
  • B-"Back": Always place your baby on their her back when sleeping.
  • C-"Crib": Falling asleep with your baby anywhere other than their crib (a bed, couch, chair, car seat, carrier, etc ) is dangerous. Babies should always sleep in a crib that meets current safety standards, and that has a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.

These practices should be followed until a child is one year of age, according to the report.

The Linn County Safe Sleep Task Force is "committed to raising awareness about safe sleep practices and helping families give their infants a safe place to sleep." They even host classes where you can get a free portable Pack N’ Play and crib sheets if you attend (if you are eligible).

Here's a scary fact, Linn County Sleep Safe Task Force says that "sleep-related deaths remain a leading cause of infant mortality nationwide, and that it accounts for more deaths than shaken baby syndrome and motor vehicle injuries." Scary! Why take the chance? Ding out more about what you can do to keep you baby safe by contacting the Unity Point Child Protection Center at 319-369-7914.