Child Care Centers Can Lead the Effort to Educate Parents about SIDS

Child Care Centers Can Lead the Effort to Educate Parents about SIDS

Child Care Centers Can Lead the Effort to Educate Parents About Sids
Recommendation on proximity to sleeping infant.

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) has added a new recommendation in their efforts to reduce the numbers of deaths due to Sudden Infants Death Syndrome (SIDS): Keep sleeping infants in a crib in the same room, as the adult. While I am sure that physicians and marketing campaigns will inform parents, the child care community are an asset not to forget.

Caregivers Can Educate About SIDS

An additional force of professionals is the caregivers that work with infants in the over 750,000 child care centers. In addition to having a close and trusting relationship with the parents, they are  well-educated in the field of child development. Typically, parents seek their advice about many things already. As the infants arrive at the center, the caregiver can take her/his time to share this important information. In addition, the parents can receive written  literature. Later, the caregiver can follow-up with reminders in a nonthreatening environment.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3,700 infants die each year in the United States without any immediately obvious cause. The leading cause of these infant deaths is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which accounts for approximately half of all cases. The CDC defines SIDS as “the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history.” Other known causes include accidental suffocation or strangulation, poisoning or overdose, and infections.

North Carolina Enlisted Childcare Centers

After reading about the new regulation, I was reminded of a project that was implemented in North Carolina called, Infant/Toddler Safe Sleep and SIDS Risk Reduction in Child Care. It was House Bill 152 which went into effect December 1, 2003. The child care centers had an active role in educating parents related to “best practices” for safe sleep. I remember the effort and the success!

The list of policies for that project is below:

  • Directors are required to adhere to the State’s Safe Sleep Policy (which includes placing children 12 months of age and younger on their backs).
  • All caregivers working with infants are required to take training on SIDS prevention.
  • All caregivers must follow the Safe Sleep Policy.
  • The preschool teachers/caregivers will provide SIDS education to all parents.
  • All parents must sign the NC form that they received the Safe Sleep Policy training.

Child Care Centers Can Lead the Effort to Educate Parents about SIDS

The updated policies from the CDC

The Recommendations are as follows:

    1. For the first year, keep the baby’s crib in the same room where you sleep. The AAP recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Room sharing will provide a closeness to watch the baby and to build a bond.
    2. Prior to age 1, the baby should always sleep on their backs for naps and at night. The data indicates that babies that sleep on their backs are safer from the dangers of suffocating.
    3. Keep all soft objects out of the crib such as blankets, pillows, stuffed toys or bumper pads around your baby. These have been known to cause blockage of air flow.
    4. The mattress should have a firm sleep surface. Make sure that it meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
    5. The sheet that covers the mattress should fit tightly. There should not be anything else on the bed.
    6. Your baby should sleep in his own bed.
      1. It is not a good idea for the baby to sleep with his parents due to pillows, blankets, and other things that could cover your baby’s face.
      2. Don’t let your baby sleep on the sofa or chair. These are known to be very dangerous for sleeping surfaces.
    7. Dress your baby with one layer more than you will be wearing since there will be no sheets or blankets.
    8. Try a pacifier at nap and bedtime. This is known to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Some Things That Moms Can Do to Help Reduce the Risk of SIDS

      1. Don’t smoke during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Keep your baby away from homes and cars where smokers have been.
      2. Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
      3. If possible, breast feed your baby. Breast fed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.

I hope that this article has been helpful to someone. For more please click on this link:  American Academy of Pediatrics.

Wanda Wyont, MA

Wanda has worked in the field of education over twenty five years in many diverse backgrounds. Her teaching experiences range from preschool to college age. She holds an MA in Birth-Kindergarten and has presented multiple workshops at national venues. She has written and published numerous articles and papers on children’s issues. Her second children’s book, Barkley’s Great Escape, was recently published. For a signed and inscribed copy, please go to, the exclusive provider.

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