BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every week in Ohio, 3 babies die in unsafe sleep environments. What’s the safest way for a newborn or infant to sleep? Experts say keep the sleeping environment simple to prevent the risk of sudden unexpected infant death; it’s the leading cause of death in babies under 1 year old.
Dr. Elena Rossi with Akron Children’s Hospital said it should be just the baby in a crib or Pack N’ Play and a fitted sheet – nothing else. Even bumpers are not recommended.
The only loose item allowed is a pacifier. Any other items will interfere with a baby’s breathing.
Several states have a law prohibiting the sale of crib bumpers, which Rossi says is a suffocation risk for an infant. Ohio lawmakers are pushing for a ban, too.
Ohio is ranked 45th as one of the worst states in the country for infant mortality. Rossi says 15 percent of those deaths are from unsafe sleep.
“I believe that most of them, not all, but the majority of them potentially preventable,” Rossi said.
A law in Ohio now requires hospitals to check and see if newborns have a safe place to sleep when they go home. There’s a program in Mahoning and Trumbull counties called Cribs for Kids, for those who qualify.
Parents can contact their local board of health for more information.