Living Well: Keep newborns safe — MRH provides baby boxes locally via Baby Box University | CraigDailyPress.com

Living Well: Keep newborns safe — MRH provides baby boxes locally via Baby Box University

Memorial Regional Health staff/For Craig Press

When your baby is born, it may be tempting to load up the crib with all those cute stuffed animals you received as gifts, but don't. Since newborns can't lift their heads and turn, they can suffocate in soft things in their crib, like stuffed animals, crib bumpers, blankets, and pillows.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3,500 babies in the U.S. perish from sleep-related deaths each year. The CDC gives four tips to avoid sleep-related deaths, including placing your baby on his or her back every time for sleep, using a firm mattress, keeping soft bedding out of the baby's sleeping space, and having your baby share your room, but not your bed.

Memorial Regional Health has partnered with RM Children's Health Foundation to provide Best Start Baby Boxes to expectant parents. The Baby Box is portable, contains a firm, yet comfortable mattress, and boasts Colorado-themed designs.

"Having a safe sleep environment with a firm mattress that's easy to move around the house makes it easier for parents to watch over baby and decreases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), because there is not excess padding or pillows, like there might be on a bed while co-sleeping, and the box doesn't allow the baby to roll over onto his or her stomach," said Liz Kilmer-Sterling, RN, MSN, CNM, certified nurse midwife with Memorial Regional Health.

Since the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1992 began recommending babies sleep on their backs, the rate of accidental deaths and SIDS cases declined each year, as more and more parents heeded the call. Today, studies show that nearly 80 percent of babies are put to sleep on their backs. However, some parents still put their babies to sleep on their sides or stomachs, naming worry of choking as a reason, among other things.

On occasion, newborns have died due to a parent rolling on them and suffocating them while sharing a bed. That's why the CDC recommends keeping your baby nearby in your bedroom, rather than in your bed.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics states that SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between age 1 month and 1 year. That's why a safe sleep environment is so important. Memorial Regional Health makes it easy by handing out baby boxes to any parent who wants one, as long as they sign up on the website and complete a brief survey and a 20-minute educational video on safe sleep.

Even if you have a crib, a baby box allows you to bring a safe sleep environment everywhere you go.

Free baby boxes for safe sleeping

MRH has partnered with RM Children’s Health Foundation to provide Best Start Baby Boxes to expectant parents. Reserve your baby box at babyboxuniversity.com/register and present your code at the OB/GYN office at Memorial Regional Health, 750 Hospital Loop to pick up your box.

Sleep safety and suffocation prevention tips for infants

• Make sure your crib is up-to-date. Check that your crib meets safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, and make sure it has all the right pieces.

• If you can fit a can of soda between the slats of a crib, that means a child’s head, hand or foot could get stuck.

• If the sides go down, don’t use the crib.

ˆ• We know that stuffed animals, bumpers, and all those cute accessories make a baby’s crib seem warm and cozy. Unfortunately, they can often do more harm than good. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to make your baby sleep like a baby.

• Corner posts of the crib should not stick up more than one-sixteenth of an inch. It doesn’t seem like much, but anything more can be risky.

• Ensure there are no design cutouts in the headboard or footboard.

• If you are getting a used crib, check to see if it has been recalled at recalls.gov.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide