Every day in Oklahoma, another family suffers the loss of an infant child through sudden death. More than 400 infants die suddenly in Oklahoma every year, and frequently, there’s no knowing why. In Central Oklahoma, an average of two more families each week must deal with the grief of an infant’s sudden death.
A variety of factors including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) contribute to infant deaths – and some of the potential causes are poorly understood. But nearly a quarter of all infant deaths are directly related to an unsafe sleep environment – and these deaths may be preventable through safe sleep practices.
The faith community is joining with Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) to launch an awareness and education campaign called “Safe Sleep Sunday.” Safe Sleep Sunday was created to raise awareness about the plight of our most vulnerable population, our babies, and to inspire all of us to work together to put an end to unsafe sleep practices.
The campaign is challenging clergy throughout Central Oklahoma to choose a Sunday or Sabbath for devotion to Safe Sleep messages. Messages and lessons will focus on concern for families who have lost infants and will provide specific information about reducing the risk of sudden infant death. Information packets and displays for places of worship and child care nurseries will be available.
“Even though we are calling this campaign Safe Sleep Sunday, we really want to make sure infants are put to sleep safely every day,” says Rev. Dr. George E. Young, Sr. Pastor at Holy Temple Baptist Church. Dr. Young is a former president of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, and a member of the OCCHD Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Advisory Council. “Sleep related infant deaths can be prevented, and we have a responsibility as clergy to ensure that our congregations are aware of this information,” Young says.
The Safe Sleep Top 10
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Place your baby on a firm, safety approved crib mattress, covered by a tight-fitted crib sheet.
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Do not allow smoking around your baby and do not smoke while pregnant.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where others and you sleep.
- Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep.
- Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
- Avoid any products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS – there is no device or product that can prevent SIDS.
- Provide “Tummy Time” when your baby is awake and someone is watching.
- Make sure everyone who takes care of your baby follows these simple steps.
For additional information or to request materials for Safe Sleep Sunday, please contact 405-425-4314.