ALPENA -Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed September as Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, addressing a completely preventable issue where nearly 150 infants die as a result of unsafe sleep environments.
The Alpena and Presque Isle Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Team has been working on raising awareness about safe sleep environments for infants, and Vice President Lee Fitzpatrick said it is a situation that is completely preventable.
"We have had a death in the past year in our local area due to an unsafe sleep situation," Fitzpatrick said. "There have been different rules over the years on safe ways for infants to sleep, but there are simple ways to avoid a tragedy."
The designation was in collaboration of efforts by District Health Department, the Children's Trust Fund and groups like the prevention team.
"We're trying to get the word out and raise awareness of safe ways for infants to sleep," Fitzpatrick said. "The biggest issue or risk is when parents fall asleep or intentionally sleep with the infant in the bed with them, which could lead to suffocation. This is a very preventable issue and there are several pretty simple rules to keep infants safe."
There are several tips for parents to follow when putting their infant down for sleep. The proclamation states that babies sleep safest alone, on their back in a crib, bassinet or portable play with a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheet with no other items. Toys, pillow and blankets should not be in the sleep area, and infants should be dressed appropriately, so they do not overheat.
For more tips about keeping infants safe while sleeping, visit www.michigan.gov/safesleep.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.