TALLAHASSEE — Governor Ron DeSantis recognized October as Safe Sleep Month in Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families (Department), Florida Department of Health, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida focus special attention on this issue during October to raise awareness about how to prevent infant sleep-related deaths in our state.
“One of the most important ways parents can protect their babies is making sure they sleep in a safe environment,” said Department Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Through the promotion of Safe Sleep Awareness Month and our continuous education efforts to parents about safe sleep practices, we hope to help prevent infant deaths due to unsafe sleeping conditions and support strong and resilient families.”
The ABCs of Safe Sleep is a simple way to remind parents of the best practices to use when promoting a safe sleep environment. Infants should be Alone, on their Backs, and in their own Crib free of any additional items (e.g., pillows, blankets, bumper pads, toys, and other loose objects) every time they sleep (including naps and overnight).
All caregivers should follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep until babies have reached at least one year of age.
“Creating a safe sleep environment can help prevent sudden unexpected infant deaths,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo. “Safe Sleep Awareness Month is an essential month to educate families about the importance of safe sleep methods. Make sure your crib meets safety standards and remember the ABCs of Safe Sleep.”
“The safest way for babies to sleep is to be alone, on their backs and in a crib that is free from pillows, blankets or any other items that could be harmful,” said Chesley Richardson, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida, part of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. “By following the ABCs of Safe Sleep for every sleep, you can sleep better knowing that your baby is sleeping safer.”
Adults or other children should never share a bed or any other sleep surface with a baby, as infants are five to 10 times more likely to suffer a fatal sleep-related injury when sleeping in the same bed as others. Instead of bed sharing, parents are encouraged to place the bassinet or crib in the same room. Additionally, sleep surfaces need to be firm, flat, and not inclined; parents should use the mattress that came with the crib.
Crib bumpers and reclined sleep products are illegal for stores to sell but are still being found in secondhand online markets, thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Do not buy or use any of these items, as they have been recalled, because they have caused suffocation of infants. Information about product safety is available on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website: cpsc.gov.
For more safe sleep tips, free resources, and a list of safe gift ideas for new parents, visit www.ounce.org/safe_sleep.aspx.