The Safe Asleep Program provides up to three free home visits by a certified staff member to teach parents, guardians, and families about the importance of giving babies a safe sleeping environment.
In Tulare County, 14.5% of infant deaths from 2015–2017 were caused by accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID). The Safe Asleep program provides participants with education, tools, and tips to reduce risks associated with infant sleeping conditions and to improve the health and safety of infants and their families.
To be eligible for participation in the Safe Asleep program, participants must be residents of Tulare County, be pregnant or have an infant under six months old, and be lacking the resources to provide a safe sleep environment for the infant.
What is SIDS?
SIDS is defined as “The sudden unexpected death of an infant under one year of age, with onset of the fatal episode apparently occurring during sleep, which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy and review of the circumstances of death and the clinical history.”
The key features of the definition are that the infant’s death is sudden and unexpected and remains unexplained even after a thorough investigation. SIDS is the most common cause of death in infants between one month and twelve months old. SIDS currently affects one out of every 2,000 live births.
Research has shown that the risk of an infant dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be reduced by following a number of “Safe Infant Sleep” recommendations:
- Infants should sleep flat on their backs for every sleep.
- Use a firm sleep surface without blankets, quilts, sheepskin, etc.
- Room-sharing, but not bed-sharing, is recommended.
- Keep objects and loose bedding out of the crib.
- Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
- Avoid cigarette smoke exposure during and after pregnancy.
- Infants should never be exposed to cigarette smoke.
- Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during and after pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding is recommended.
- Consider offering a pacifier at sleep, but do not persist if the infant refuses it.
- Avoid overheating. Do not overdress sleeping infants.
- Infants should receive regular immunizations on the normal schedule.
- Avoid commercial devices marketed to prevent SIDS.
While these Safe Infant Sleep recommendations will not prevent all SIDS, they will reduce your baby’s chance of dying from SIDS. SIDS appears to be a natural cause of death, and research suggests that abnormalities in brain stem neurotransmitters are present in many SIDS babies. Please adhere to Safe Infant Sleep recommendations if you care for any infant, and help support those families who have had a baby die from SIDS.