We are happy to release the second edition of "iNCite",
our monthly feature focusing on the health and well-being
of women and young children in North Carolina. For
those receiving "iNCite" for the first time, our
goal is to provide you - members of the health community,
government agencies, community groups and individuals
- with information to take into your personal and
professional lives. We urge you to incorporate featured
material in your newsletters, presentations, online
resources and discussion groups.
Good Night? Infant Deaths and Sleep
On October 10, the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) released updated recommendations regarding Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of
death for infants one to twelve months of age. Two
of the more significant recommendations discourage
bed sharing and promote back-only (and not side) infant
AAP officials had previously permitted, but did not
actively promote, side sleeping. The updated guidelines
call for back-only infant sleep positioning for night
time and naps.
This is the first time since 2000 that revised recommendations
have been released and comes at a time when SIDS deaths
in North Carolina have begun to plateau, following
nearly a decade of decline. Each year, approximately
100 North Carolina families experience the sudden and
unexpected death of an infant.
A large percentage of SIDS deaths can be attributed
to several modifiable risk factors related to a baby's
sleep position and sleep environment. A safe sleep
environment is free of excess bedding, bumper pads,
pillows, stuffed animals and tobacco smoke. Additionally,
a safe sleep environment is one in which a baby sleeps
in his own crib or bassinette, away from the potential
hazards of sleeping with parents or siblings.
The latest AAP recommendations underscore the importance
of placing babies alone in a crib, bassinet or cradle
for sleep. Officials also encourage placement of the
baby's crib in the parent's room, which studies have
linked to SIDS risk reduction benefits.
Placing the baby in a separate, safe sleep environment
in close proximity to parents allows for convenient
contact while helping to avoid the dangers resulting
from sharing the same bed. This provides easy access
for bonding and breastfeeding which is beneficial to
a baby's physical and emotional development.
In addition to SIDS, bed sharing can result in accidental
suffocation, strangulation, entrapment and rollovers
(crushing). Recently, North Carolina has seen an alarming
increase in overall accidental infant deaths associated
with bed sharing and unsafe sleep environments. These
deaths are preventable!
Although a majority of North Carolina babies are being
put to sleep on their backs (69% in 2003), officials
believe part of the decline in SIDS deaths in recent
years is due to a shift in coding SIDS cases to other
causes of unexpected or accidental infant deaths, many
related to the sleep environment.
How is a SIDS diagnosis determined?
A SIDS diagnosis is one of exclusion in which the medical
examiner rules out all other causes of death based
on autopsy findings, a death scene investigation
and review of the baby's clinical history.
What help is available for families experiencing
a SIDS death?
The North Carolina SIDS Program (919-715-8430) provides
support, answers to questions and has trained SIDS
counselors who can offer a helping hand and link family
members with others who can provide grief support.
What is "tummy time"? How long should it last?
"Tummy time" is when newborns and infants spend supervised time on their stomachs
while awake to play and exercise. "Tummy time" aids in muscle development and
tone, and helps prevent flattening of the head which can result from pressure
on the back of the head from time spent in car seats, cribs, swings and carriers.
It is recommended that newborns be introduced to "tummy time" for five minutes
during awake periods, but this can be increased as a baby grows and becomes stronger.
Click here for
more information on SIDS.
Click here to
view and order educational materials promoting Back
to Sleep and other SIDS risk reduction messages. (link
to BTS section of the catalog)
here to view the American Academy of Pediatrics
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