Middlesex, Mass, District Attorney Marian Ryan recently launched a “Let Your Baby Breathe” campaign to make sure every new parent receives important education on infant safe sleep practices. This initiative is part of the recognition of October as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. Partners in this initiative include Lowell General Hospital, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Winchester Hospital.

The campaign includes printed materials to be distributed to hospitals, birthing centers, pediatricians, and community organizations as well as a website feature with tips and resources for parents. “The safest place for baby to sleep is in a separate sleep area free of blankets, bumpers, and pillows,” says Ryan in a release. “SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants, thus this campaign is one way we can make sure no family has to suffer the loss of a child. There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what is a safe sleep environment and we hope this campaign provides clear information for parents and caregivers.”

Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths by following these practices:
• Always place baby on his or her back to sleep—for naps and at night
• Keep baby’s sleep area free of pillows, soft or loose bedding, padded bumpers, soft objects, and toys
• Place baby to sleep in a separate sleep area close to where you or others sleep
• Place baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet
• Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not allow smoking around the baby
• Give baby plenty of tummy time when awake and when someone is watching
• Prevent overheating by not over-dressing baby and by keeping the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees
• Frequently checking on your baby
• Call 911 immediately if the baby is not responding
• Talk to all caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices