CHICAGO – October marks the critical Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, and Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is urgently advising caregivers to adopt the life-saving ABCs of safe sleep. Alarmingly, in 2022, 106 infants in Illinois fell victim to unsafe sleep practices.
Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith emphasized, “As much as we love our babies, sleeping with them is just not safe. In fact, unsafe sleep deaths are 100% preventable. It’s crucial for parents and caregivers to learn and follow the ABCs of safe sleep. Infants should always sleep alone; on their backs; and in a safe crib.”
Most of these tragedies strike infants aged between 1-4 months, with 90% occurring before six months. Disturbing details from 2022 revealed that 78 of the deceased were found outside cribs or similar safe spaces. Twenty-four weren’t on their backs, and 42 were co-sleeping.
A crib equipped with a firm mattress and a snug-fitting sheet offers the safest sleep environment. Excluding pillows, toys, and other items is crucial. Parents should always ensure cribs are available during travels or bring along a ‘pack and play’.
For detailed safe sleep guidelines, consult the Illinois Safe Sleep Support.