Is your child sleeping safely?
An infant sleeping safely is a priority in Minnesota.
State officials brought that message to the local media last Wednesday as part of Governor Mark Dayton proclaiming this week Minnesota Infant Safe Sleep Week.
The week provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, government entities, health care facilities and coalitions to promote the awareness of safe sleep practices.
Since 2006, the number of deaths that occur in Minnesota licensed child care programs has been increasing.
Jerry Kerber, inspector general for the Minnesota Department of Health, said, “It was striking to us that the numbers had been increasing and we didn’t really know why but as we looked into it we were able to see that about 75 percent [of the deaths] were associated with an unsafe sleep condition. That was instantly a call to act.”
With legislative action last session, a number of proposals address ways to ensure that infants are placed in a safe sleep environment in all Minnesota child care facilities.
Several provisions were developed, including:
•Encouraging child care providers to monitor sleeping infants with in-person checks every 30 minutes.
•Requiring child care providers to take in-person training on sudden unexpected infant death syndrome (formerly known as sudden infant death syndrome) every two years and a video training during the non-in-person training year.
To illustrate a safe sleep environment, state and local officials gathered at the home of child care provider Kelsi Timm in Alexandria Wednesday. Timm placed her son, 6-month-old Blake, on his back in a playpen, with no blankets, pillows, bumper pads or toys.
“When you lay an infant down it can only be on the mattress with a tightly fitted sheet. Nothing can be in the crib but a pacifier, and put the baby on their back,” Timm said.
Timm has been a child care provider for four and a half years and, on average, cares for 10 to 12 kids per day, including three of her own.
Legislation approved this year will improve safety by providing training to enhance compliance with safe sleep practices.
State Representative Mary Franson, of Alexandria, was instrumental in developing language for the safe sleep environment information.
Franson was a child care provider for four years before she was elected. “Parents want to know when they come to pick up their kids… that their children are in the same condition they left them in, and sleeping is part of that so I’m very glad Governor Dayton proclaimed this as Safe Sleep Week and just the awareness of the importance of safe sleep,” Franson said.