Keeping babies safe

Seal of St. Lawrence County. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Preventing an infant’s death could be as simple as changing a few conditions about the way he or she sleeps.

Research demonstrates that it’s best for babies to sleep on their backs rather than on their sides. They also should sleep under tightly fitting sheets to help them maintain this position. Caretakers should remove objects such as bumpers, pillows, blankets and stuffed toys from cribs, and infants should not sleep with other people or companion animals.

This information, part of the ABCs (Alone on their Backs in a Crib) of Safe Sleep platform, was included in a resolution passed May 11 by the Services Committee of the St. Lawrence County’s Board of Legislators. It calls for a yearlong campaign to begin in June to raise awareness of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome. The resolution will come before the full board Monday.

Heather L. Wenzel, interim commissioner of the county Department of Social Services, told legislators the Regional Child Fatality Review Team is launching this project. This group is based at the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County in Watertown and consists of about 25 people who are district attorneys, first-responders, law enforcement agents, medical examiners and pediatricians from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

“This resolution supports the efforts of the Child Fatality Review Team,” Ms. Wenzel said, according to a story published May 17 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The team’s mission is to review reported child fatalities and to promote child safety. Too often in St. Lawrence County unsafe sleep practices lead to child fatalities or near fatalities. I’m encouraged by the team’s efforts and I’m a member of the team, to educate the community.”

Ms. Wenzel told legislators that at least two infants die each year in St. Lawrence County as a result of SUIDS. She said the work being done by the Regional Child Fatality Review Team is very important.

Studies done on SUIDS could be information overlooked by new parents, so it’s vital for people throughout the north country to support this campaign. It would be fitting for Jefferson and Lewis legislators to join their St. Lawrence County colleagues in taking similar resolutions under consideration. Promoting these safe practices would benefit families throughout Northern New York, and we urge local governments to do so.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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