Michigan Holds Safe Sleep Summit to Address Preventable Infant Deaths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2013

LANSING – Tomorrow’s Child and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) are hosting an educational summit about Infant Safe Sleep on Oct. 9, at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. Governor Snyder has called upon MDCH to address Michigan’s infant mortality rates, with sleep-related infant deaths being the third most common cause of infant death in Michigan.

Sleep-related infant deaths are 100 percent preventable. In 2012, 141 infants in Michigan died due to being put to sleep in an unsafe environment. After years of significant decline, Michigan’s infant death rate has held relatively steady since 2003. By eliminating just the unsafe sleep deaths, Michigan’s infant mortality rate could be reduced below the national average.

The purpose of the Summit is to inform participants of the most current, best practices in regards to infant sleep safety as well as statewide initiatives related to infant safe sleep, and provide tools for participants to continue efforts to reduce sleep related infant deaths in their communities. Featured speakers include Rachel Moon, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s National Medical Center, and Carl Schmidt, MD, Wayne County Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Moon will speak about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sleep Related Deaths, and will also examine the safety of infant sleep products that are currently on the market. Dr. Schmidt, a board certified forensic pathologist, will discuss the role of the Medical Examiner in SIDS and Sleep Related Infant Deaths.

Michigan babies have suffocated while sleeping in adult beds, sharing a bed with an adult or child, sleeping on furniture, and sleeping with pillows, cushions, and blankets. All babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs, never on their sides or tummies, in their own crib. Other lifesaving steps parents and caregivers can take to protect their baby include:

  • Never put the baby to sleep with adults or other children as the practice exponentially increases the chance of a tragedy occurring.
  • Put babies in cribs of their own, never on adult beds, pillows or couches.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly-fitted sheet.
  • Ensure that the crib does not contain extraneous items -- including pillows, crib bumpers and stuffed animals – and use a safe sleep sack instead of blankets.
  • Place the baby to sleep on his or her back, not on the stomach or side.
  • Do not overheat baby.
  • Make certain that no one smokes around baby.

A link to register for the Summit is at the Tomorrow’s Child website, www.tomorrowschildmi.org. Registration is $50 and includes continental breakfast and lunch. Nurses and Social Workers can receive continuing education for their attendance. For more information about safe sleep, visit www.michigan.gov/safesleep.

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