Unsafe sleep is the leading cause of non-natural infant death in Virginia. In a recent report by the Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team, the rate of sleep-related infant deaths increased by nearly 40% during 2013 to 2016. These deaths are preventable, and can be avoided by following simple, life-saving practices each time an infant is placed to sleep.
The Safe Sleep 365 campaign is designed to educate all caregivers regarding the steps that can be taken to prevent sleep-related death in children under one year of age, and builds on the core principles of Alone, Apart and Always to emphasize the practices every caregiver can employ to provide a safe and healthy environment for infants during sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports nearly one in five sleep-related deaths occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent or usual caregiver. It is vital that everyone caring for a baby, including child care providers, grandparents, foster parents, and siblings, are aware and adopt the following practices when placing an infant to sleep:
ALONE on his/her back, but within the same room as their caregiver
APART from toys, blankets, pillows or other objects to avoid suffocation, and
ALWAYS in a separate safe sleep space such as a crib or bassinet, a drug- and alcohol-free environment
We all have an important role to play in keeping Virginia's children safe. Let's work together to bring greater awareness to safe sleep practices, and ensure infants have a safe and healthy start in life. Join the statewide effort to increase awareness of safe sleep practices, and PLEDGE to help save the lives of Virginia's infants.
To learn more about Virginia Department of Social Services' efforts to equip Virginia's new and expecting families with safe sleep education and resources in partnership with Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and The Baby Box Co., click here.