Safe sleep

Becky Deel demonstrates some of the items used to prepare a child for sleep. 

RICHLANDS, Va. — Safe sleep is what every new parent wants for their young child.

Clinch Valley Medical Center’s staff is making a concerted effort to see that new parents have the proper training and equipment to keep their child safe. Becky Deel, nurse manager of the hospital’s OB department said they are working to send every new mother home with the knowledge and equipment needed to keep their baby safe.

“We teach them the proper way to swaddle and instead of loose blankets we use and encourage them to use wearable blankets, (sleep sacks), she said. Deel said this area has a high rate of sudden, unexplained, infant deaths and her department is working to reduce those.

She cited statistics showing SIDS, accidental suffocation and other sleep related problems are the number one cause of death in babies between one and 12 months of age. “Sleep related causes of infant death are those related to where a baby sleeps or slept. These deaths are due to accidental causes such as suffocation, entrapment or strangulation,’ she said.

She says it is important that babies sleep on their back and in a safety approved crib. They counsel parents to have their infant sleep in the same room but not the same bed as the parents. Pillows, blankets, toys and bumpers are to be kept out of the crib.

They also discourage the use of wedges and positioners and advise the new mothers to use a firm sleep surface covered by a fitted sheet. They also work with the Cribs for Kids program that uses a screening program to determine if the parents have or need a safe crib.

They have developed an application for low income parents to use to obtain a safe crib for their baby. Deel and others are seeking donations from civic groups, businesses and individuals to assist with the cost of furnishing safe cribs to needy families.

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