Research shows more than 3,500 babies die from sleep-related causes every year in the United States. In an effort to lower that number, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital is providing portable cribs to new families in need.
For parents, a sleeping baby is a welcome sight; but before laying your little one down for a snooze, there’s a few important things to keep in mind.
“Sometimes you get messages from your grandma or maybe your neighbor, who says, ‘Oh no, they need to be on their tummies,’” said Sherry Iverson, Director of Community Education at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. “No, it’s always back to sleep.”
A safe sleeping environment is also a must — be sure to remove anything that could obstruct the baby’s breathing. That means loose blankets, toys and crib bumpers need to go.
“We don’t want loose blankets, they don’t want stuffed animals,” Iverson said. “So, if you think about just a tight-fitting crib sheet on a firm surface.”
But for many families, access to a crib or a bassinet is difficult.
“We’ve heard that families sometimes will keep a baby in a car seat all night instead of a crib,” Iverson said. “…or they’ve even tried a swing and tried to put blankets in the little leg holes.”
St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital has teamed up with the “Cribs for Kids” program, which gives families in need a portable cribette, along with a backpack filled with safer sleep baby gear, like fitted sheets and swaddles.
“…all things that, when they go home, their baby’s going to be safe and they can take good care of them,” Iverson said.
In 2014, five infants in Idaho had accidental deaths related to their sleep environments. Doctors also recommend that, for at least the first six months, babies sleep in the same room as their parents, in a crib or bassinet.