Departments of Human Services and Community Health launch program aimed at decreasing the nearly 150 preventable infant deaths due to unsafe sleep each year

“As both a mother and the first lady of Michigan, I find the loss of 150 babies each year in Michigan due to unsafe sleep environments tragic – particularly since these deaths are 100 percent preventable,” says Mrs. Snyder.

Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder today announced her support of programs being launched by the Michigan Departments of Human Services and Community Health to combat the nearly 150 fully preventable accidental suffocation infant deaths annually due to unsafe sleep environments. The announcement was made at Beaumont Children’s Hospital. The First Lady was joined by Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski, DHS Director Maura Corrigan and DCH Chief Deputy Nick Lyon.

The state departments will coordinate educational efforts surrounding safe sleep including distribution of a video in which families who have experienced this tragedy firsthand share their stories. Beaumont Hospital is the first in the state to partner with DHS and DCH by airing this video through the hospital television system. The agencies are also in talks with other hospitals and partners across the state to provide this educational video to new parents. The video will also be available for viewing at DHS and DCH offices.

“Our departments are committed to making safe sleep education a priority,” says Corrigan. “We thank the First Lady for her support in educating families so they do not experience what far too many Michigan families must live with every day – the loss of their precious babies.”

Deaths due to unsafe sleep environments may previously have been categorized as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and believed to be unpreventable. Advancements in investigations and a greater understanding of infant physiology, however, make it clear that many of these deaths are due to suffocation as a result of unsafe sleep environments and, as such, are fully preventable.

To keep babies safe, parents and caregivers must:

* Never put the baby to sleep with adults or other children as this practice exponentially increases the chance of a tragedy occurring.
* Put babies in cribs of their own, never on adult beds, pillows or couches.
* Ensure that the crib does not contain extraneous items, including pillows, crib bumpers and stuffed animals — and use a safe sleep sack instead of blankets.
* Place the baby to sleep on his/her back, not on the stomach or side.
* Do not overheat baby.
* Make certain that no one smokes around baby.

“If we are able to eliminate these preventable tragedies, we could bring Michigan’s infant mortality rate below the national average,” says Lyon. “This is a critical goal, but more importantly, we are striving to save the lives of these babies and also to spare the families a lifetime of grief and regret.”

The video is available for viewing at the Safe Sleep website, Information on safe sleep is also available at local DCH and DHS offices.

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