A Safe Sleep reminder to parents of infants
Enjoy the Christmas cheer but ensure babies and young children have a designated sober caregiver – is the Ministry of Health message for Safe Sleep Day (Friday 5th December 2014).
Ministry of Health Chief Advisor Child and Youth Health Dr Pat Tuohy says that is particularly true when babies are being put to sleep.
‘Infants need a designated sober caregiver, just like we have designated sober drivers’ says Dr. Pat Tuohy, Chief Advisor Child & Youth Health. ‘By working together, we can make sure that every infant has a safe sleep every sleep.’
‘If you’re a caregiver and drinking alcohol, your baby could be at risk of suffocation if you fall asleep with them. This is true for both fathers and mothers.
‘Any parent that has had a few drinks that lies down with their baby is likely to fall asleep, having a designated sober caregiver means there’s someone there looking out for the baby and making sure they are put to bed safely by themselves.
‘Babies are also at greater risk of injury from falls if they are with a caregiver who has been drinking,’ said Dr. Tuohy.
‘Every baby needs a designated sober caregiver, a protected sleep space where they can sleep on their back, and to be breastfed where possible with alcohol-free breast milk.’
Each year in New Zealand 40–50 infants die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy. A significant number of deaths are due to accidental suffocation, and alcohol or other drugs are a contributory factor in some cases. Experts estimate that Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy could be reduced to 5 deaths a year if all known preventive actions were undertaken.
For information on other steps that can be taken to reduce Sudden Infant deaths in infancy go to Safe sleep essentials: Preventing Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).