Op-Ed: Safe Sleep for Babies Requires Effort from All

For more than a decade, my organization, Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), has sounded the steady drumbeat of safe sleep awareness, which in turn has created bans on dangerous products and has helped enact laws that work to ensure babies are sleeping safely.

unnamed-1.jpgKBS has kicked off an awareness campaign designed to promote safe sleep practices and products for babies. The campaign will culminate in the first-ever National KBS Day on May 2, in which KBS staff, volunteers, sponsors and donors will honor lawmakers and others who have helped lead the cause over the past year.

The first-annual Keeping Babies Safe Day is held intentionally on the same day as National Baby Day. KBS is underscoring the fact that newborns can spend up to 18 hours a day in a crib. Parents and other caregivers need to know the latest safe sleep practices to protect them.  

Baby sleep safety isn’t just a responsibility of new parents. Family members and friends can also learn about ways in which to promote safe sleep practices.

There are many ways in which you can mark Keeping Babies Safe Day, providing families with such tips as:

  • Never use supplemental mattresses in soft-sided play yards.
  • Don’t sleep in bed with your baby. The safest place for a baby is in his or her own crib in their parents’ room.
  • Make sure the baby sleeps on his/her back.
  • Keep the crib or bassinet clear of toys and other bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, bumper pads and wedges. 
  • Post comments on online sites, such as Amazon, Target and Walmart, where supplemental mattresses are sold. Inform shoppers of the dangers.

 In addition, arming new parents with the best safe sleep advice will actually help make other legislation – both state and federal – more effective.  Today, second-hand stores and consignment shops continue to grow, particularly in low-income areas of the state, with many inadequate cribs available for easy purchase.

Recent federal legislation makes it illegal to sell unsafe cribs that don’t meet federal standards. This legislation speaks to the sellers of this merchandise.  But our focus is the users of the crib – the new parents. 

By informing the new parents of what is safe and what is not, we are providing parents with critical information so that they can make knowledgeable decisions about where and how to put their baby to sleep. 

To learn more about the work of KBS, to participate in the May 2 celebration or how you can celebrate “Keeping Babies Safe Day” in your community, please visit www.keepingbabiessafe.org

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