Safe Sleep annual community baby shower

Rock-a-bye baby: Safe sleep experts demonstrate the correct way to use a sleep sack. The annual community baby shower was at Topeka’s CRC Care Center.

The Community Health Improvement Plan has identified infant mortality as a major health concern for Shawnee County. The Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods (HHN), Healthy Babies workgroup has been working on ways to help inform expecting families on safe sleep practices.

Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to noon the workgroup hosted its annual Community Baby Shower for Safe Sleep for Shawnee county. The event was held at the CRC Care Center at Avondale East, 455 SE Golf Park Blvd.

Newborns sleep about 16 hours per day, usually in three to four-hour periods. Since a newborn will spend approximately 2/3 of the day sleeping, it is important to make sure they are sleeping in a way that will keep them happy and healthy.

A point during the community shower was discussing the fundamental risks that could be a cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). About 3,400 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the U.S. Most of these deaths result from SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation.

According to Mayo Clinic’s website, SIDS is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs. Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS might be associated with defects in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

According to a study by the CDC, SIDS rates declined considerably from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 38 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016.

“Safe sleep is as easy as ABC. Always keep your sleeping baby alone, on their back and in a crib,” explains one of the speakers at the event.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the same room as their caregiver, but not in the same bed. Parents can always position baby’s crib next to their bed to easily maintain physical contact and encourage bonding. Your baby should sleep alone in an empty crib. Keep loose bedding, bumpers and toys out of the crib as this can increase your baby’s risk of suffocation and entrapment.

Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep and on their tummies to play. Babies should be placed facing alternate directions in their crib to discourage resting on the same side of their head. For example, one night place your baby so their head is on the right side of the crib and the next night place baby so their head is on the left side of the crib.

Use a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards. Avoid using sleep positioning devices because there is no evidence that these are effective and in some cases, they pose a danger to babies if they roll out of the device.

The shower was open to any families in Shawnee county who have had children or are currently expecting. Expecting parents were given a chance to learn more about safe sleep habits and receive resources for child care, breastfeeding plans and women, infant and children nutritional program.

Pregnant women who attended the community shower received a free portable crib, diapers, sleep sack and any and all requested sleep safe training.

Additionally, this year the Shawnee county health depaErnest tabled at the event and gave free Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) vaccinations for pregnant mothers and caregivers. The Tdap vaccine protects against these three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases.