FLORENCE — “There, do you hear that? That is your baby’s heart beat!”
From the moment new mothers hear those words, everything changes. The immediate love parents feel for their children makes them do anything to protect the vulnerable infants.
So why, when parents are willing to spend thousands of dollars to keep them safe, do many tend to overlook some of the simplest ways of preventing injuries?
Accidental deaths associated with unsafe sleep practices continue to be one of the highest causes of death in the zero to 1-year age group, according to McLeod Health. These deaths can be prevented by following some simple guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
SAFE SLEEP TIPS
• Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
• Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
• Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets and bumper pads. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
• Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time, including naps and at night.
• Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
• The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
• Wedges and positioners should not be used.
• Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
• Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
• Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
• Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
• Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
• Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat head).
McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal also offers a Safe Sleep class for new parents. Held once a month, this class educates families on ways to create a safe sleep environment for their child. The class is free of charge and will be held on the following dates: Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 24, April 14, May 26, June 23, July 28, Aug. 25, Sept. 22, Oct. 27, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, 2016.
To register for an upcoming class, contact McLeod Reservations and Scheduling at 843-777-2005 or 1-800-667-2005. Registration and paperwork must be completed at least one week prior to the class. Space is limited.
For more information on preventing childhood injury, call McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at 843-777-5021. You can also visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org or find the group on Facebook under McLeod Safe Kids.
McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.
Jessica Wall works in corporate communications for McLeod Health.