News 12 This Morning/Monday Nov. 25, 2013
(WRDW)--"It's the number one cause of death in children up through the first year of life outside of birth defects," said Rene Hopkins.
Hopkins with Safe Kids Greater Augusta is talking about sudden or unexpected infant death syndrome--also known as SIDS or SUIDS.
"It's when a child who was otherwise normally presumed healthy is put down to sleep and then tragedy occurs and they don't wake up," she explained. "The actual cause of SIDS is unknown. More often it actually is an inappropriate sleep arrangement."
Although there's no known exact cause of SIDS, suffocation is often a worry, which is why they suggest parents use a sleep sac in place of blankets.
"[That way] they can't pull the blanket up over them," said Hopkins. "We want them alone in a crib with nothing but a single tightly fitted sheet underneath them in an approved crib, basinet or co-sleeper."
But for parents who would rather use a blanket, there is a safer way to do so--the feet to foot method.
"It's when you put the child in the crib with their feet all the way at the foot of the bed, take the blanket, put it no higher than mid chest with their arms on the outside and tuck it in all the way under the mattress firmly on all three sides," Hopkins explained.
She says the only safe way for infants to sleep is on their backs and in a smoke-free environment.
"Smoking in the child's environment is second only to putting them on their bellies for the risk," she said.
All things she says should be going through a parents mind every night as they lay their children down to sleep.
"It really needs to be on the top of their mind," said Hopkins. "And it's not something that we think about until tragedy strikes and then it's too late. So we need to be thinking about it beforehand."
Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by the Children's Hospital of Georgia, offers sleep safety classes for parents where they'll get training and receive their very own sleep sac and portable crib.
Click the link below for details on how to sign up.