Cass County Youth Council observing Safe Sleep Awareness Month

CASS COUNTY — During the month of October, one Cass County organization is hoping to keep infants and children safe while they sleep.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared October 2020 Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, calling attention to the importance of preventing sleep-related infant deaths. The Cass County Youth Council is hoping to call even more attention to the issue this month.

“Most people think this would never happen to them, but the sad reality is that a baby dies nearly every other day Michigan and these deaths are overwhelmingly preventable,” said CCYC President Desiree Duomes.

To keep babies 0-12 months of age safe, while sleeping at night and during naps, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following guidelines:

  • Place baby on back, in a crib, bassinet or pack n’ play for every sleep time.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free – no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.
  • Keep baby in a smoke-free environment.
  • Support breastfeeding and immunizations.

The Cass County Youth Council’s Safe Sleep program has provided 69 pack n’ plays since starting the project in 2015. Along with the pack n plays, the infants also receive two safe sleep sacks, two pack n play sheets, and multiple safe sleep information packets that educate the parents about Safe Sleep and the importance of following it to reduce the death rate from unsafe sleep practices. In 2020 we also started providing onesies to parents with the Safe Sleep ABC’s printed on them to continue to spread the word about Safe Sleep Practices and as a reminder to parents.

“It is important for parents to understand that babies should be alone, on their backs, and in a crib/pack n play with nothing in the crib/pack n play that could cause suffocation (crib pads for the rails, toys, blankets, pillows, animals),” Dunomes said. “We also have safe sleep videos, can provide safe sleep educational trainings, provide safe sleep education to expectant parents.”

If a family needs a pack n’ play, they can contact Amber Barton at (269) 303-2913 or BartonA@Michigan.gov or the CCYC at ccycboard@gmail.com. Arrangements will be made to deliver, set up, and explain how the pack n’ play works and go over the ABC’s of Safe Sleep with the parent(s). The family must reside in Cass County.

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