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Safe Sleeping For Infants

Safe Sleeping For Infants

Parents who were sleeping in with their sick kids in hospitals have been forbidden from doing so now at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

This ban went into place after three infants died in the emergency due to accidents in bed. These accidents were mainly due to bed sharing.

Infants who sleep with their parents are in danger of being smothered or overheated by soft pillows and sheets. There is the added danger of being caught between the mattress and the furniture. The ER reports at least one such case every month. However, the spate of incidents over the last few months made the nurses at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children propose that the hospital set an example.

Since people do not have primary pediatricians, the role of the hospitals in educating parents becomes more important. This policy is an extension of the ‘back to sleep’ campaign against sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. It was launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The new policy requires that the new parents should get talks and information brochures on safe sleep patterns. Quinyohna Canty faced this new information drive when she applied for a free crib from the Maternity Care Coalition. She had to fill out a series of questions on the right sleeping patterns for babies. She was advised on having a single blanket during the warmer months and to avoid over stuffing the crib. She was also advised on the right way to wrap the infant in the crib.

Recently, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office came out with the shocking revelation that there were 28 infant deaths from asphyxiation in 2008. Of these, 4 babies had died when an adult had rolled on to them. The Pennsylvania Department of Health also revealed that around 49 infants had died during 2206 and 2007. Of these, 33 were found to be sharing a bed at some point of time.

Concern over developing suitable sleeping habits among babies is not new. The Pennsylvania House recently approved a bill that established a safe sleep public education and prevention program.

Some experts however feel that the ban on co sleeping is not a solution. Rather, it should be an individual choice. This can be a safe practice, provided the parents do it safely. Some even believe that co sleeping facilitates breast feeding and bonding. However, the area institutions feel that there is no alternative to safety. The staff at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's sleep center for instance, advocate room sharing, but not bed sharing. Other institutions advocating this policy are the Abington Memorial Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Experts feel that a comprehensive safety list needs to be provided to parents of newborns. Ultimately, the goal of every institution is the safety of the infant and an unhindered infancy. For this reason, more and more of the institutions are taking up these campaigns and information drives.


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