A three month old boy died last week after being found unconscious in a home-based day care center in Alhambra, CA. This death comes on the heels of the recent release of the latest California Child Fatality Annual Report stating that SIDS and asphyxiation combined with abuse and neglect were the second highest cause of death in 2012.
Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said “The information was that people in the house were doing CPR” when authorities arrived. Police notified the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division, which regulates day care centers, as well as the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services about the incident, Johnson said. State records show that state licensing officials conducted an inspection of the day care two days after the incident and found that the licensee had a standard first aid certification rather than the required pediatric certification.
The recent tragedy in conjunction with October being SIDS awareness month brings forward the question of prevention. What can you do to help prevent this sort of devastating situation? When looking for a daycare provider in California, be sure to do your homework and check Community Care Licensing Division for the latest reports and complaints filed on each center.
Nationally, the infant mortality rate has fallen by 25% since 1994, but at 6 deaths for every 1,000 births, the rate is still higher than most other developed countries. To help protect your infant from SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled these easy to follow guidelines:
• Place your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep. Babies up to 1 year of age should always be placed on their backs to sleep during naps and at night.
• Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads, and stuffed toys can cause your baby to suffocate.
• Place your baby to sleep in the same room where you sleep but not the same bed. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at risk of SIDS, suffocation, or strangulation.
• Breastfeed as much and for as long as you can. Studies show that breastfeeding your baby can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
• Schedule and go to all well-child visits. Your baby will receive important immunizations. Recent evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS.
• Keep your baby away from smokers and places where people smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. However, until you can quit, keep your car and home smoke-free. Don’t smoke inside your home or car and don’t smoke anywhere near your baby, even if you are outside.
• Place your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface. The crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should meet current safety standards. Check to make sure the product has not been recalled. Do not use a crib that is broken or missing parts, or has drop-side rails. Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet. Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and the fitted sheet. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion, or sheepskin. For more information about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The latest crib mattress by Newton is breathable, fully washable, and fully recyclable. Two layers of highly breathable spacer fabric are quilted together in a cloud pattern to create soft pillows of air and are surrounded by a cover that can be easily removed for washing. The icing on the cake: Newton does not contain foam, latex, springs and glue common in other crib mattresses. The absence of these things means the absence of off gassing, toxic chemicals and allergens. The founder of Newton, Michael Rothbard explains, “Surrounding your baby with breathable products is the best way to protect against suffocation and many doctors recommend you start with the crib mattress. Newton’s patented core is made of 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer. So your baby can breathe through the mattress even if he or she rolls over onto his or her stomach. In fact, an independent scientific test showed the suffocation risk on a Newton Crib Mattress is at least 50% lower than any of the other leading crib mattress.”
The American Pediatrics Association also recommends keeping the room where your baby sleeps at a comfortable temperature and not letting baby get too hot to help prevent SIDS. The new Smart Nova Baby Monitor displays the temperature from the child’s surroundings (16-99F) while minimizing radiation present in most baby monitors. Traditional DECT baby monitors emit significant amounts of microwave radiation over extended periods of exposure to infants. The new CARE (Cordless Anti-Radiation Environment) technology in the SmartNova Baby Monitor achieves the same communication while emitting 97% less radiation with no pulsing radiation. It works with a line of sight operation range up to 1200 ft and two way communication. It is available online from $149.00.
There is also a new portable movement monitor available from Snuza which easily clips onto the baby’s diaper called the Snuza Hero. This monitor is small, portable and perfect for on the go. It detects physical movement and will send an alarm if your baby’s movements fall to less than 8 per minute or are extremely weak. If no abdominal movement is detected for 15 seconds, Hero will gently vibrate. Often this vibration is enough to rouse the baby, and Hero will revert to monitoring mode. After three vibration/rouse incidents, the Rouse Warning will alert you. If no further movement is detected for another 5 seconds, an alarm will sound to alert you. The Hero costs $119.99.
Safe Sleep and Your Baby: How Parents Can Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Suffocation (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)