Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children one year old and younger; and with families spending more time at home together or making plans to safely visit relatives as the holiday season approaches, Illinois DCFS is reminding parents of three simple steps they can take to ensure their infants are put to sleep safely.
“It is critical for parents and caregivers to learn and use the ABCs of Safe Sleep,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith. “A baby should sleep Alone, on his or her Back, in a safe Crib – every time. Infant safe sleep deaths are preventable, and we are all responsible for ensuring parents and caregivers are aware of the danger to their child when they do not create a safe sleeping environment.”
In 2019, 108 infants in Illinois under the age of 1 died as a result of being put to sleep unsafely. 87 were found in locations other than a crib, bassinet or ‘pack and play;’ 76 were found in positions other than on their back; and 71 were co-sleeping with another individual at the time of death.
Infants sleep safest alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly-fitted sheet. The crib should be free of pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals and toys. Infants should never be placed on an adult bed or couch to sleep. If parents of young children are traveling, they should call ahead to make sure their accommodations include a crib or bring a ‘pack and play’ to their hotel or relatives’ residence if one is not available.