Parents, put babies in their bed
Faribault Daily News
By Caren Hoffman, Director of A Child's Delight Too and chairperson of the Rice County Child Protection Team
April 24, 2008

There have been children who have died right here in Rice County due to unsafe conditions when they sleep. There are many people in our county who fight to protect children everyday, especially parents. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This is a good time to remind people about sleeping with your baby. There are many pros and cons that have been written about sleeping with your baby. Despite the possible pros, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns parents not to place their infant to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics is in agreement with the CPSC. There are agencies that dispute the CPSC's findings. Everyone is in agreement that those who should not sleep with an infant include:

- Other children - particularly toddlers - because they might not be aware of the baby's presence.

- Parents who are under the influence of alcohol or any drug because that could diminish their awareness of the baby.

- Parents who smoke because the risk of sudden infant death syndrome is greater.

If you do choose to share your bed with your baby, make sure to follow these precautions:

- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.

- Always leave your child's head uncovered while sleeping.

- Make sure your bed's headboard and footboard don't have opening or cutouts that could trap your baby's head.

- Make sure your mattress fits snug in the bed frame.

- Don't place a baby to sleep in an adult bed alone or on a couch.

- Don't use pillows, comforters, quilts and other soft or plush items on the bed.

- Don't drink or use medications or drugs that may keep you from waking and may cause you to roll over onto your baby.

- Don't place your bed near draperies or blinds where your child could be strangled by cords.

Unfortunately, we have had deaths right in here in Rice County due to children sleeping with their parents or in adult beds/couches which are not appropriate for young children. Parents, please, go through your household, check for things that could harm children and review how and where your children sleep.