New sleep recommendations issued for infants - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

New sleep recommendations issued for infants

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A family is struggling to overcome the loss of a family member who is gone too soon.

About 3,500 babies die every year from sleep related accidents. The American Academy of Pediatrics is issuing new recommendations for safe sleep for infants.

Under the new guidelines infants share their parent's bedroom for the first six months to a year. To help infants get stronger to avoid incidents from rolling over on their stomach, parents should help them with plenty of supervised stomach time while they're awake.

"I just left work and got a phone call from the daycare provider stating that he wasn't breathing," said Sara Lynch. She lost her son to SIDS.

It's a moment she will never forget.

"When I got there he was in the ambulance and they were working on him. I followed the ambulance to the emergency room and then watched them work on him for another hour in the emergency room. I told him I loved him and that he was strong. And then the doctor told me they had worked on him long enough," Lynch said.

Her 3-month-old song Lukas had died. He suffocated in his sleep while at daycare.

"I said, 'well, it's God's turn to take care of him.' So that's where he's at now," Lynch said.

She said she took all of the precautions to protect her bundle of joy, only to lose him in the care of another.

"If he would've even been in her peripheral vision she would've been able to see him roll over and that could've saved his life," Lynch said.

Since Lukas' death in 2013, Lynch has had another child Charlee. She's a stay at home mom now, vowing to never use daycare again.

Lynch wants everyone to know what happened to her can happen to anyone. She urges all parents to make sure anyone caring for their children know how to do so safely.

"So it's very important to be strict with them and say this is what I want for my child. Whether it's a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a daycare provider, a babysitter, whoever. They all need to follow those rules," Lynch said.

Heidi Churchfield, community liaison for women and children's health at Covenant Hospital, said the number one mistake parents make is sleeping with their little ones.

"Accident suffocation either layovers where parents will layover the baby or putting them in bed with other siblings. We see that a lot as well," Churchfield said.

The AAP wants babies to sleep in the same room as parents, but in separate spaces until the baby is a year old. This reduces SIDS by 50 percent.

As for the baby's crib, it should be a firm surface with the child sleeping on their back. Churchfield said if parents insist on sleeping with their babies, say after feeding them in bed, then the adult's bed needs to be safe for the baby.

"You have to have a firm mattress. You can't have that nice pillowtop mattress. You cannot have pillows in your bed, no sheets, no blankets," Churchfield said.

The AAP also wants a baby's crib to be bare. The means no soft bedding, crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. They also discourage the use of home monitors and other commercial devices that claim to reduce SIDS.

Churchfield agrees with the recommendations and admits they might be a tough sell for new and old parents alike, but she believes parents need to do better for their children.

"There's no do-overs. Even if we have 20 children to lose one is too many," Churchfield said.

Covenant Hospital is offering safety training on Oct. 27, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15 from 5-7 p.m. For more information call 989-583-4503.

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