Tuesday, October 6, 2015

National SIDS Awareness Month: Spotlight on NISSA

According to the Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS Alliance, SIDS claims the lives of 2,500 infants in the U.S. each year. To honor National SIDS Awareness Month, DEL would like to remind the public of important resources that are currently available to Washington parents.

The Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS Alliance (NISSA) hosts a website that is loaded with valuable and educational resources for families, grieving parents, child care providers and more.

One of the organizations most valuable resources is their Safe Sleep Tips. Here are a few of the tips provided online:
  • Infants should always be placed on their backs for sleep.
  • Infants are safest in their own sleep environment.
  • A firm crib mattress covered by a sheet is the recommended sleeping surface.
  • Keep all soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or around infants.
  • Wedges and "positioners" should not be used.
  • Consider offering your infant a pacifier at naps and bedtime.
  • Dressing babies too warmly may cause them to overheat. They can sleep comfortably in light clothing.
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. None have been proven safe or effective.
Krista Cossalter Sandberg, Executive Director of the Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS Alliance notes,
"The biggest issue in sleep related infant death is currently co-sleeping."
NISSA dedicates a section of their website to the University of Washington research regarding safe sleep, including a publication about bedsharing.

Sleeping in the same space as your child or children can be done safely, according to the University of Notre Dame, but doctors warn the public of risks. Check out their guide on how to safely co-sleep.

Dr. James J. McKenna of the University of Notre Dame states,
"Aside from never letting an infant sleep outside the presence of a committed adult, i.e. separate-surface co-sleeping which is safe for all infants, I do not recommend to any parents any particular type of sleeping arrangement since I do not know the circumstances within which particular parents live. What I do recommend is to consider all of the possible choices and to become as informed as is possible matching what you learn with what you think can work the best for you and your family."
NISSA currently works with DEL's licensed providers to promote safe sleep practices throughout the state. The organization sent safe sleep information, WAC (Washington Administrative Code) regulations and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) guidelines as well as a poster with a safe sleep environment image to every child care provider in Washington.

The AAP has been instrumental in the development of DEL's safe sleep training and guidelines. For more information about those, go here: DEL Safe Sleep.

NISSA offers various ways you can get involved in their organization, including an upcoming dinner and auction: "An Evening of Courage and Hope." There are other ways to volunteer as well. To find out more, visit their site here: Volunteer.


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