September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month (Health Information)
September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. The death of a live child before his or her first birthday is classified as infant mortality. There were 61 infants who died in 2017 in Guilford County. Guilford County is one of the leading counties in the state for high infant mortality rates. The state rate was 7.1 and the Guilford County rate was 9.8 per 1,000 births.
The Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality is partnering with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, and the Guilford County Child Fatality Prevention Team to promote safe sleep messaging throughout our community.
“Unfortunately sleep related deaths are occurring too often in our community. Many of these deaths could have been prevented,” said Public Health Director, Merle Green. “Public Health follows the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics which includes placing infants on a firm sleeping surface, such as a firm mattress in a crib, covered only with a snug-fitting fitted sheet. Firm sleeping surfaces are surfaces that keep their shape when the infant is placed on them.” Green further explains, “Loose bedding, mattress toppers, blankets, stuffed animals, bumpers, positioners, or any other soft object should be removed from the infant’s sleeping area.”
Parents and caregivers can promote safe sleep by:
· Always placing your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
· Using a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
· Dressing baby in no more than one layer of clothing more than an adult would wear to be comfortable and leave the blanket out of the crib. A one-piece sleeper or sleep sack can be used for sleep clothing. If you notice baby sweating or breathing rapidly, he or she may be too warm.
· Sharing your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
· Not using pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby's sleep area.
· Keeping the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
· Not allowing smoking or vaping around your baby.
· Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sleep related causes of infant death.
Saving babies is everyone’s responsibility and we must continue to work tirelessly to address health issues regarding our infants and children.
For more information, please call Jean Workman with the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality at 336-641-6775.