NH DHHS - Releases Data for SIDS/Safe Sleep Awareness Month in October

Concord, NH – The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is

helping to raise awareness for October, National SIDS/Safe Sleep Awareness

Month. Each year in the United States, up to 3,400 infants die suddenly and

unexpectedly. Most of these deaths are from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death

Syndrome), and other sleep-related causes. SIDS is one of the leading

causes of death for infants one month to one year of age nationally and in

New Hampshire. Every year in New Hampshire 8 to 14 babies die in an unsafe

sleep setting.

“While healthcare providers and researchers do not know the exact cause of

SIDS, there are preventive methods that we do know encourage safe sleep,”

says Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The

Department wants to highlight these methods to encourage the practice of

safe sleeping habits for infants and to help reduce the risk of SIDS.”

The DHHS Sudden Infant Death Program provides training and resources to

those who work with expectant or new parents about how to reduce the risk

of SIDS and death from unsafe sleep settings. The Program works with the NH

Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to provide information and grief support

resources to assist families who have suffered the loss of an infant

suddenly and unexpectedly. Tobacco exposure during pregnancy and after

increases an infant’s risk of deaths from SIDS. The DHHS NH Tobacco

Helpline prioritizes pregnant and post-partum women with their services to

help women quit and stay quit.

Strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS and promote safe sleep include:

· Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep.

· Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved

crib, covered by a fitted sheet.

· Have baby share the room, not your bed. Baby should not sleep in

an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone or with anyone else.

· Keep soft objects such as pillows, bumper pads, soft toys and

loose bedding out of baby’s sleep area.

· Don’t let baby get too hot during sleep.

· Prevent any exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and after

birth. Do not smoke during pregnancy, do not allow smoking near

you while you are pregnant, and do not smoke or allow smoking

around your baby – especially in the home or in a vehicle. The

risk of SIDS is even stronger when a baby shares a bed with a

person who smokes. For help quitting tobacco, call the NH Tobacco

Helpline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or www.TryToStopNH.org.

· To reduce risk of SIDS, breastfeed baby, then put baby to sleep in

a close but separate safety-approved crib.

For more information, see the national Safe to Sleep Campaign website:

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/Pages/default.aspx. NH DHHS currently offers

free help quitting tobacco use through 1-800-QUIT-NOW (www.TryToStopNH.org