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Study Finds Safe Sleep Awareness Needed

May 19, 2014, 6:16 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Study Finds Safe Sleep Awareness Needed

You might have heard your parent, a doctor or even a TV commercial saying you should place babies on their backs to sleep, not their stomachs.  But a new report shows many caregivers aren't getting the message.  Around 4,000 infants die a year from sleep-related deaths.

As first-time parents, Tyler and Jericha Phelps couldn't be more proud of their baby girl, Aubrey.

But the Dell Rapids couple admits they're also a little nervous.

"I've been obsessed with reading blogs and articles," Jericha said.

The Phelps have also prepared for parenthood by taking classes during pregnancy. During their hospital stay, they've watched a movie about safe-sleep practices, and doctors have handed out information.

"They still sell crib bumpers and stuff and those aren't safe," Jericha said.  "It's scary. It's scary, especially as a first-time parent."

As a pediatrician, Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Edward Mailloux tells his patients about how to properly take care of babies while they're sleeping.

"It's been clearly shown that if you lay them on their stomach, they have a much greater risk of SIDS," Mailloux said.

Along with putting babies on their backs to sleep, you should also not sleep in the same bed as a baby.

"There have been a number of deaths because parents, while they sleep and have this baby in between the parents or on the side of the parents, they'll literally roll over or move and smother the baby," Mailloux said.

Mailloux also reminds his patients to make sure their babies sleep on a firm surface with nothing else in the crib.

"We don't do the bumpers, and we don't put a teddy bear in there. We don't put blankets in there because we know that raises their chance of SIDS," Mailloux said.

All information the Phelps absorbed as they get excited to watch their baby girl grow.

"First smile, first words, first everything," Jericha said.

In the new survey, researchers found almost 20 percent of parents slept in the same bed as their infants.  More than 20 percent placed babies on their stomachs, not their backs.

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