Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children a year old or younger. In 2018, 143 infants in Illinois under the age of 1 died because of being put to sleep unsafely. The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Illinois Department of Human Services have declared October to be Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month.
All three organizations are working with local hospitals and health care providers throughout the state to spread education and awareness at reducing the risk of sleep related infant deaths. DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez says parents and caregivers for infants should follow the ABC’s of putting a baby to sleep for the night. Always lay an infant on their back and let them sleep alone. Infants should always sleep in a crib with a firm mattress and a tight, fitted sheet on the mattress.
Lopez says one of the biggest mistakes newborn parents make at bedtime is co-sleeping in an adult bed with an infant.
According to research, following the proper routine at bedtime greatly reduces the probability of SUID or SIDS from occurring. DCFS also wants to remind people that bumper pads for cribs are illegal in the City of Chicago and should never be used due to suffocation concerns. IDPH says that SUID is five times more likely to occur in minority infants, with the leading cause being improper bedtime safety. For more information about proper night-time routines for infants, visit illinois.gov/DCFS.