Dane County to launch safe sleep campaign - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane County to launch safe sleep campaign

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MADISON (WKOW)-- In the last five years, there’s been an increase in the number of sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUIDs) in Dane County. According to the Public Health Department, more than 70 percent of those deaths were the result of unsafe sleep environment. So the county plans to launch a safe sleep campaign.

The Dane County Safe Sleep Imitative will be a social marketing campaign, geared toward teaching parents the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for infant sleep environments.

“We've been working with the child death review team and there's a fetal infant mortality review team, and we've found, unfortunately, there's been an increase in infants dying in unsafe sleep environments,” said

Daniel Stattelman-Scanlan, a Public Health nursing supervisor.

The Public Health Department joined forces with more than 40 community partners to launch a campaign to reduce the number of infant deaths related to unsafe sleep.

“For the years 2011 and 2012, there were nine infants that died in those two years,” Stattelman-Scanlan said. “So SUIDs and safe sleep as a part of that, is a leading cause of death.”

The campaign was crafted over the last 18 months, with help from focus groups made up of parents. The goal is to create a clear and consistent message about the safest way for children under the age of one to sleep. One of the safe sleep campaign partners is the American Family Children’s Hospital.

“Some of the recommendations would be using a firm mattress with a tight, fitted sheet, keeping the environment clear- no pillows, no toys, no cute little bumpers, “ said  Rishelle Eithun, safety and injury prevention coordinator for the hospital. “All of those things could potentially cause suffocation. And then always place his or her baby on their back to sleep.”

The initiative will include billboards and bus signs. Eithun says one big thing she tells families is to share a room but not a bed.

“We actually have families who often ask that and we strongly encourage room sharing,” Eithun said. “So bring in a crib or pack n play or bassinet that mom and dad are sleeping in and so that way baby can have their own sleep area but be within an arm's reach of mom and dad.”

The safe sleep campaign will officially launch May 5.

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