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MANSFIELD -- October is Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month and Richland County Children Services (RCCS), is working to educate parents and caregivers about how to keep infant children safe while sleeping.

According to the CDC, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area. Sudden unexpected infant deaths include SIDS, accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes.

Each year in the United Sates, nearly 3,500 infants die in unsafe sleep environments. Every week in Ohio 3 babies die a day in unsafe sleep environments.

A Safe Sleep environment can help reduce the risks of SIDS and other sleep related causes of infant death, like suffocation. RCCS recommends following the ABC’s of Safe Sleep:

• Alone – The safest way for babies to sleep is alone in their own bed and not sharing a bed or co-sleeping with their parents, other children, or animals. There should be no pillows, blankets, toys, clothing, sleep positioners, bumper pads, or other items in the baby’s sleep area.

• Back – Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs every time they are put to sleep! This is important for naps, nighttime sleep, sleep after feedings, and when other caregivers are putting the baby to sleep. A baby who normally sleeps on its back but is then placed on its stomach to sleep is at an especially high risk of SIDS.

• Crib – Babies should be placed to sleep on a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib. The mattress should only have a fitted sheet on it. Babies should never sleep in adult beds, on couches, or anywhere that is not a safety-approved crib or bassinet.

Sleep -related deaths are preventable and RCCS is offering parents and caregivers the information they need to keep their babies safe.

For more information and weekly updates visit www.richlandcountychildrenservices.com and https://www.facebook.com/RichlandCountyChildrenServices. Please call the Richland County Children Services 24-hour child abuse hotline at 419-774-4100 to report child abuse and neglect.

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