Safe sleep for your baby

(Image: Shutterstock)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s estimated Connecticut loses a kindergarten class every year due to unsafe baby sleep practices. Earlier this year, legislation was passed with that in mind.

Now hospitals across the state like Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital are developing their own campaigns so everyone is on the same page,  sending the same message to parents with newborns.

Parents, giving birth at YNHCH, do not go home without having a critical conversation.

“One of the things I want to talk about is safe sleeping and how to keep your baby safe during sleep,” says pediatrician Dr. Eve Colson.  She is on a number of national committees — monitoring a disturbing trend.

Dr. Colson, says, “Our data shows, it’s increasing, that parents continue to sleep in their beds.”

Putting the lives of babies more at risk. Other studies show something just as alarming

“Some people didn’t get any messaging at all from any health care providers,” says Dr. Colson, “And yet we know that if you get advice, you are much more likely to choose to do safe practices.”

From the mother’s room to the pediatric emergency department, the message is clear.

“Parents need to consistently hear the same information,” says Dr. Kirsten Bechtel, “That the safest place for their baby to sleep is on their back, on a crib that has nothing in it, right next to the parents bed but not in the parents bed.”

The pediatric emergency physician has seen too many babies die from preventable deaths.

“They’re getting sort of caught in the covers of the bed or they are under the pillows or under the headboard or they are sleeping in car seats where a bottle may have been propped up and a blanket was used to prop up the bottle,” says Dr. Bechtel.

The little guy, content in his mother’s arms, is David — Samantha and Tim Murray’s second child.

“They used to encourage using wedges or putting different things to position the baby in the bed,” says Samantha, “And come to find out those really are just not safe for the baby.”

They welcome the updated information in the throes of just giving birth.

Samantha says “Having people supporting you and reminding you of these things are very helpful because you are thinking of a lot of things and sometimes it seems so simple.”

Simple and when followed through, life saving.

If you are awake and breastfeeding, Dr. Colson says, it is okay to have the baby in the bed with you. But — be sure to return your baby into the crib or bassinet before falling asleep.

Again– make sure that where they are sleeping, is free of heavy blankets, pillows and stuff animals.

For more information:

  • Call Injury-Free Coalition for Kinds of New Haven at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital at 203-200-KIDS (5437)
  • View and print out the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital Safe Sleep for Your Baby pamphlet.
  • The Safe to Sleep campaign, led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has additional resources for injury prevention and advice for parents on infant sleep.

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