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Safe Sleep For Your Baby

The leading causes of death in babies from one month to 12 months are sleep-related infant deaths, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and strangulation in bed.  A safe sleep environment can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths.

African American babies are more than two times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies. American Indian/Alaskan Native babies are nearly three times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies. 

Listed below are examples of ways babies in Oklahoma have died after being put down to sleep in an unsafe space:

  • Suffocating when another person fell asleep with the baby and laid on top of the baby
  • Suffocating when blankets got on the baby’s face and the baby could not breathe
  • Suffocating after getting stuck between the wall and the mattress on an adult bed
  • Suffocating after getting stuck between two mattresses, couch pillows, or recliner cushions
  • Suffocating on debris after falling off the bed onto pile of soft items
  • Strangling on a mini-blind cord that was too long and too close to the crib
  • Strangling between bars on a crib or adult bed that were too far apart

To reduce sleep-related infant deaths, the Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages using safe sleep recommendations listed.

Safe Sleep Tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDs

  • "Room sharing" has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
    • It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents' room, close to the parents' bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first 6 months.  Infants who are brought into the bed for feeding or comforting should be returned to their own crib or bassinet when the parent is ready to return to sleep.
    • [Leach, C., Blair, P.S., Fleming, P.J., Smith, I.J. Platt, M. W., Berry, P. J. (1999) Epidemiology of SIDS and Explained Sudden Infant Deaths Pediatrics, 104 (4)]. 
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. 
    • Studies have reported a protective effect of pacifiers on the incidence of SIDS, even if the pacifier falls out of the infant's mouth. 
    • For breastfed infants, pacifier introduction should be delayed until breastfeeding is firmly established. 
    • The pacifier should be used when placing the infant for sleep. It does not need to be reinserted once the infant falls asleep. If the infant refuses the pacifier, he or she should not be forced to take it. In those cases, parents and caregivers can try to offer the pacifier again when the infant is a little older.  
    • Because of the risk of strangulation, pacifiers should not be hung around the infant's neck or attached to infant clothing when used with sleeping infants. 
    • Pacifiers should be cleaned often and replaced regularly.
  • Breastfeeding until 12 months when possible can further reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
    • [Vennemann, M. M., Bajanowski, T., Brinkmann, B., Jorch, G., Yücesan, K., Sauerland, C., Mitchell, E. A. (2009) Does Breastfeeding Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? Pediatrics, 123 (3)]
  • Have regular supervised "tummy time" when baby is awake
  • Provide skin-to-skin contact for newborns
  • Set “smoke-free” rules around you and your baby before and after birth to keep tobacco smoke away from you and your baby’s environment to prevent risks of tobacco use.  
    • Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are at 2-3 times higher risk for SIDS. A baby exposed to second hand smoke after birth is also at increased risk for SIDS and other respiratory illness.  If you are pregnant, may become pregnant or have a baby, quitting smoking and not allowing your baby to be near cigarette smoke are the best gifts you can give yourself and your child. Eliminate cigarette smoke from your baby’s life today.  
    • Free help to quit smoking is available in Oklahoma! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669)
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
 
Factors that Increase the Risk of SIDS
 
  • "Bed sharing" practices that substantially increase the risk of SIDS or unintentional injury or death:
    • Bed-sharing with an infant younger than 4 months
    • Bed-sharing with a current smoker (even if he or she does not smoke in bed)
    • Bed-sharing with someone who is impaired in alertness because of fatigue, sedating medications or alcohol
    • Bed-sharing with anyone who is not the infant's parent, including non-parental caregivers and other children (even twins or higher-order multiples)
    • Bed-sharing on a soft surface, such as a waterbed, old mattress, sofa, couch, or armchair
    • Bed-sharing with a soft mattress, bedding accessories, such as pillows and blankets  (Reference: AAP)
  • Infants should also NOT sleep with other babies, children, or pets

For more information, go to https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/ for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website of interactive resources, brochures, and other educational materials.

Perinatal loss is most often defined as, "A relatively common occurrence which refers to the death of an infant due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death."

Below are resources for grief support in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area

  • Agape Doula Postpartum Service
    • (405) 819-4904
    • Contact: Danielle Lungrand, PCD(DONA), CLC(OKC)
  • Balance Women's Health (Moore, OK) 
    • (405) 378-2727
  • Calm Waters, 3525 NW 56th Street, Oklahoma City
    • (405) 841-4800
    • A support center for children whose lives have been changed by death or divorce.
  • Deaconess Hospital (OKC)
    • (405) 604-4444
    • Contact: Joyce Long
  • INTEGRIS Hospice
    • (405) 848-8884
  • Kids Joining Eternity
    • (405) 802-5739
    • Contact: Melanie Edwards
  • Oklahoma City-County Health Department Social Workers
    • Phone: (405) 419-4036 or (405) 419-4142
  • Oklahoma Family Network
    • (405) 271-5072
    • Contact Joni Bruce
    • Offers one-on-one mentoring for families who’ve experienced the loss of an infant or child with special needs.
  • Sunbeam Family Services (OKC)
    • Phone: (405) 609-6652
 

Tulsa Metropolitan Area

  • Family and Children Services, Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Claremore
    • (918) 587-9471
    • Grief and Loss Counseling (also provided in Spanish).  Meets throughout the year, every second Thursday of each month.
  • Floral Haven Funeral Home, 6500 South 129th East Avenue, Broken Arrow
    • (918) 495-1597
  • Oklahoma State Department of Health/Child Guidance, 315 S. Utica, Tulsa
    • (918) 594-4739
    • Offers one-on one services to children who have lost a parent or sibling.  Fees are based on a sliding scale.  No one is refused services for inability to pay.
  • Saint Francis Health System, 6600 South Yale, Suite 350, Tulsa 74136
    • (918) 494-6465
    • Offers grief support groups, grief mailings that come 1, 3, 6, 9, 12 & 13 months, group counseling, grief companions, and memorial services twice a year. 
    • All services are free of charge even if they did not have a loved one affiliated with Saint Francis in any way.
  • The Tristesse Center, 1709 South Baltimore Ave, Tulsa
    • (918) 587-1200
    • Offers a variety of individual and group programs to help those of any age that are grieving.  There is a 6-week Grief Support Group for the loss of an infant or toddler on Thursday evening.  Coping with the loss of a Child Monday Evenings 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Sessions are $10.00.
 
Church-based support
 
  • Britton Christian Church, 922 NW 91st St, OKC
    • (405) 848-2046
  • Capitol Hill Assembly of God, 2400 SW 74th Street, Oklahoma City, 73159
    • (405) 682-4685
  • Church of the Servant, 14343 N. MacArthur, OKC
    • (405) 721-4141
  • Edmond Church of Christ, 801 South Bryant, Edmond, 73034 
    • (405) 341-3353
  • GriefShare is a special support group for people who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Several churches throughout the Oklahoma City Metro area offer a GriefShare group. Contact the church for group days and times.
  • Kids’ Place, P.O. Box 258, Edmond, Oklahoma 73083
    • (405) 844-5437 or (405) 341-3353
    • kidsplace@edmondchurchofchrist.com
    • Provides a safe and supportive environment for children as they mourn the death of a family member or friend. 
  • New Covenant Christian Church, 12000 Rockwell Ave, OKC, Oklahoma, 73162 
    • (405) 722-7445
  • Northwest Baptist Church, 3030 NW 23rd St., OKC
    • (405) 942-5557
  • Oklahoma City First Nazarene, 4400 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City
    • (405) 843-9588
  • Quail Springs Baptist Church, 14613 N. May Ave, Oklahoma City, 73134 
    • (405) 755-9240 or (405) 751-1621
  • Surrey Hills Baptist Church, 12421 N. Mustang Rd, Yukon
    • (405) 373-2139


Compassionate Friends-Online Support


Norman Area

  • Compassionate Friends
    Norman Chapter #1044 
    Corner of 12th and East Main Street
    Community Services Building
    North conference room
    (405) 360-4287
    normanchaptertcf@hotmail.com
    The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. Meets the 3rd Tuesday each month.
  • Heartland Hospice
    Contact Shae Keene at (405) 579-8565
  • Norman Healthplex
    Phone: (405) 613-6642
    Contact: Marcie Roberson
  • Oklahoma Family Network
    Contact Joni Bruce at (405) 271-5072 or toll free at (877) 871-5072Offering one-on-one mentoring for families who’ve experienced the loss of an infant or child.
  • P.R.I.D.E. (Parents Responding to the Infant Death Experience)
    Norman Regional Healthplex
    Offering support to those who have lost a child during pregnancy or in the first year of life.
    Call (405) 613-6642, or email nrhspride@nrh-ok.com
  • GriefShare is a special support group for people who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Several churches throughout the Norman area offer a GriefShare group. Contact the church for group days and times. 
  • Crosspoint Church
    SE 24th and Hwy 9
    Contact Mike Garner at (405) 307-1038
    Contact the Church at (405) 329-0823
  • Journey Church
    I-35 and Tecumseh Road
    Contact Allen Sample at (405) 217-8700
  • First Baptist Church
    301 Ne 27th, Norman
    Contact Linda Miller at (405) 793-2600
  • Alameda Church of Christ
    801 East Alameda
    Norman, 73071
    Randy Hendrix, Counselor
    (405) 321-0788
    Meets Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.
    There are many Internet resources available to people who are experiencing the pain and sorrow of grief in their lives. Here are a few; you may find others by searching online.
  • The Compassionate Friends
    Crisis, Grief, & Healing

Grief Share Recovery Support Groups


Oklahoma City Area

Norman Area

  • Compassionate Friends
    Norman Chapter #1044 
    Corner of 12th and East Main Street
    Community Services Building
    North conference room
    (405) 360-4287
    normanchaptertcf@hotmail.com
    The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. Meets the 3rd Tuesday each month.
  • Heartland Hospice
    Contact Shae Keene at (405) 579-8565

    Norman Healthplex
    Phone: (405) 613-6642
    Contact: Marcie Roberson

Oklahoma Family Network
Contact Joni Bruce at (405) 271-5072 or toll free at (877) 871-5072
Offering one-on-one mentoring for families who’ve experienced the loss of an infant or child. 

P.R.I.D.E.
(Parents Responding to the Infant Death Experience)
Norman Regional Healthplex
Offering support to those who have lost a child during pregnancy or in the first year of life.
Call (405) 613-6642, or email nrhspride@nrh-ok.com

GriefShare
 is a special support group for people who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Several churches throughout the Norman area offer a GriefShare group. Contact the church for group days and times. 

Crosspoint Church
SE 24th and Hwy 9
Contact Mike Garner at (405) 307-1038
Contact the Church at (405) 329-0823

Journey Church
I-35 and Tecumseh Road
Contact Allen Sample at (405) 217-8700

First Baptist Church
301 Ne 27th, Norman
Contact Linda Miller at (405) 793-2600

Alameda Church of Christ
801 East Alameda
Norman, 73071 
Randy Hendrix, Counselor
(405) 321-0788
Meets Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.

There are many Internet resources available to people who are experiencing the pain and sorrow of grief in their lives. Here are a few; you may find others by searching online.

Free help to quit smoking is available in Oklahoma! 
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

If you smoke cigarettes, you are not alone. One in four women in Oklahoma smoke cigarettes.

Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are 2-3 times at higher risk for SIDS, despite the birth weight of the baby. The risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. 

Studies show a baby exposed to secondhand smoke after birth is also at increased risk for SIDS and other respiratory illness. This risk increases with either the number of cigarettes smoked by the parents near the baby or the number of hours the infant spends in the presence of smokers.

If you are pregnant, may become pregnant or have a baby, quitting smoking and not allowing your baby to be near cigarette smoke are the best gifts you can give yourself and your child. Eliminate cigarette smoke from your baby’s life today.

Source: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Supervised "Tummy Time" with babies while they are awake allows babies to strengthen their muscles and develop normally. 

Because of recommendations for babies not to sleep on their tummies, infants are losing approximately 12 hours of "tummy time"  during the day. Many infants also spend long hours in swings, car and infant seats when awake. These practices result in some infants developing motor delays. 

"Tummy Time" helps infants:

  • Stretch and strengthen the head, neck, shoulder and back muscles they will need to learn important motor skills (for instance, how to push up, roll over, sit up, crawl, and pull to a stand).
  • Develop their sensory-perceptual, social emotional, problem solving, balance, visual, and hearing abilities.
  • Develop normally shaped heads (infants who spend most of their time on their backs when asleep and in infant seats when awake are at risk for developing flat spots on the backs of their heads).

Sources:


Contact Information

James Craig, MSW, LCSW
Public Health Social Work Coordinator

Phone: (405) 426-8084

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Maternal and Child Health Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave, Ste. 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Maternal and Child Health Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave
Oklahoma City, OK