CCHD Offers Recommendations on Infant Safe Sleep Practices

The Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign) aims to educate parents, caregivers, and health providers about ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. In the past two decades, significant progress has been made in reducing SIDS rates. Since the launch of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1997, the SIDS rate has dropped by more than 50 percent across all populations. However, the rate has leveled in recent years. Today, SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies under 1 year of age.

“SIDS is the term used to describe the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation,” says Rayna Joshu, RN, Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) Public Health Home Visitor. “Although there is no known way to prevent SIDS completely,” she continues, “there are ways to reduce the risk.”

The single most effective action that parents and caregivers can take to lower a baby’s risk for SIDS is to place the baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night. Other key recommendations include:

  • Put the baby in a separate sleep area in the same room where parents sleep
  • Use a firm sleep surface in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of the baby’s sleep area

Additionally, good prenatal care results in healthier pregnancies and babies and helps reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

CCHD’s Maternal Child Health programs can provide a variety of screening, resources, and information to help parents, guardians, and caregivers of young children and pregnant mothers. For more information on preventing SIDS and other causes of sleep-related death or resources on child development and care, contact a CCHD Public Health Home Visitor at 454-6950 or visit