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Simple Steps to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

August 07, 2000

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission last month released a national survey showing that African Americans are more likely to place their babies to sleep in ways that increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The survey found that more than half of African American parents place their babies to sleep on their stomachs or sides and African Americans are more likely to place soft bedding such as quilts, comforters or pillows in the crib with their infants. National infant mortality statistics show that African American babies are twice as likely to die from SIDS as other babies.

The CPSC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Child Health and Development recommend the following steps to ensure babies under 12 months sleep safely:

* Place the baby on his or her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib meeting current safety standards.

* Remove pillows, quilts, comforters and sheepskins from the crib.

* Consider using a sleeper with no other covering as an alternative to blankets.

* If using a blanket, place the baby in the crib with his or her feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, only as far as the baby's chest.

* Make sure the baby's head remains uncovered during sleep.

* Never place a baby to sleep on a water bed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow or other soft surface.

* For more information on preventing SIDS, contact CPSC at (800) 638-CPSC. You can get a free copy of Safety Tips for Sleeping Babies electronically in English or Spanish or by writing to CPSC, Washington, DC, 20207.

Source: CPSC

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