Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Post on Safe Sleep by First Candle

This week, we are honored to have a guest post by Laura Reno of First Candle.  We greatly appreciate her generous offer to share this invaluable article on safe sleeping and encourage our readers to share these life-saving tips with friends and family. 
First Candle – Working toward a Future where all Babies Survive and Thrive
As one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to infant health and survival, it is First Candle’s mission to promote safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. At the same time, we remain committed to providing compassionate grief support to anyone affected by the death of a baby. With a highly skilled professional staff, expert medical directors, committed board of directors and national network of partners, we are working to ensure that every baby is given the best possible chance to reach not only his or her first birthday, but many happy birthdays beyond.
This post will focus on the importance of safe sleep in preventing infant deaths.

As a new parent, one of the most important decisions you will make is where your baby will sleep. Every year, nearly 4,500 babies die without warning before reaching their first birthday. Experts believe 80-90 percent of these deaths are the result of unsafe sleep practices.  The following information will help you keep your baby safe from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and accidents during sleep.
The safest place for your baby to sleep, for at least the first six months, is alongside your bed in his/her own separate space.  Adult beds are not safe for sleeping babies!   Babies who sleep in adult beds are as much as 40 times more likely to die than babies who sleep on their back in a safe crib.  Soft bedding, such as pillows, blankets and quilts increase your baby’s risk for SIDS and suffocation. Bed sharing is even more unsafe if your baby is less than 11-weeks old, was born too early or at a low birth weight, if you smoked during pregnancy, if you or your partner smoke now, or if you or your partner have taken drugs, alcohol or medications that make you sleepy.  Falling asleep with your baby on a couch or armchair is very unsafe and adults, children or pets should never share a sleep surface with your baby.
Your baby should sleep in a safety-approved crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet on a firm mattress covered with only a tight-fitting sheet (bassinets should not have soft or padded sides).  Only use the mattress and sheet recommended for the sleep product you choose. Use a wearable blanket or other type sleeper instead of blankets to keep your baby warm.  Pillows, quilts, blankets, bumpers, wedges, positioners and stuffed animals should never be used in your baby’s sleep area.  Always place your baby on his/her back for sleep!  Remember to follow these guidelines even when you are visiting away from home or traveling.
Its okay to nurse your baby in bed, but when it’s time to go to sleep, be sure to place your baby back in his/her own, separate, safe sleep area alongside your bed!
Research shows that pacifiers can greatly reduce the risk of SIDS if used during the first year of life.  Offer a pacifier every time you place your baby down to sleep.  Don’t worry about putting it back in your baby’s mouth if it falls out after he/she falls asleep.  Pacifiers should not be used as a substitute for feeding.  If your baby refuses the pacifier, don’t force him/her to take it.  Never use a string, clip or anything else to attach a pacifier around your baby’s neck or to clothing.
Be sure that everyone who cares for your baby follows these safe sleep rules!
Please do not hesitate to contact me at 313-884-4742 or if you have any questions. More information on helping your baby survive and thrive can be found at

Laura L. Reno
Mother of Daniel Patrick Reno, a victim of SIDS
Director of Marketing and Communications
Program Director – Family Support

Laura L. Reno Biography

Laura Reno is First Candle’s Director of Marketing and Communications and Program Director – Family Support. As a key member of the senior staff team responsible for the overall development and implementation of the organization’s strategic plan, Laura also serves as the primary communication link between First Candle and it’s constituency, the media, medical community and general public; and is responsible for the development of public awareness campaigns, creating promotional, educational and bereavement materials and interpreting medical and scientific data for public consumption.  As Program Director - Family Support, Laura directs the organizations bereavement component, which includes developing model programs for services to families and providing crisis intervention support to those affected by the death of a baby. Since the SIDS death of her son Daniel in 1984, Laura has been working at the local, state, national and international levels to ensure that one day, no family need experience the sudden, unexpected death of a precious baby.
Above content and images developed and copyrighted by First Candle and reviewed by a national panel of experts.

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