Children's Health

Keep Babies Safe While Sleeping With These Simple Tips

An estimated 63 infants in Kent County died within the first year of life from 2001 to 2006 likely as a result of unsafe sleeping environments. This statistic concerns experts at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and they are working to raise awareness of safe sleep practices this month.

“Unsafe sleep deaths can be prevented,” said Wilma Zeemering-Nelson, RN,’Center for Child Protection, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “Parents and caregivers can observe seven simple steps to keep their baby safe.”

  • Babies should sleep alone a crib, portable crib or bassinet.
  • Always put babies to sleep on their back even when they can roll over.
  • Keep the crib free of’ pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, bumper pads or soft items to prop the baby up.
  • Keep baby’s face uncovered during sleep for easy breathing. Use a sleeper instead of a blanket.
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke anything around baby.
  • Don’t overheat the baby. Dress the baby in as much or as little clothing as you are wearing.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.

“Parents and caregivers often think babies need something extra special to sleep,” added Zeemering-Nelson. “The exact opposite is true. Babies are safest in the simplest sleep space. Parents can show their baby love by placing them in a safe environment. Parents can also protect their babies even more by sharing information about safe sleep environments with family members or other caregivers. We know that it is often when baby is in the care of someone else that an unsafe sleep environment results in tragedy.”

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a Grand Rapids-based hospital serving children throughout Michigan. A teaching hospital, it includes more than 150 pediatric specialty physicians with specialized training in providing medical and surgical care to children in more than 40 pediatric specialties. We care for 7,600 children on an inpatient basis and 190,000 children at outpatient sites annually. The staff at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is committed to caring for children and families with compassion, excellence and innovation. The children’s hospital is one of seven hospitals in the Spectrum Health system. Visit’‘to learn more or’‘to learn about the new hospital opening in 2011.