County health groups promoting safe sleep environments for babies

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A group is training home visitors, family advocates and health care providers about safe and healthy sleeping habits and techniques to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Kern County Network for Children and Kern Cares are offering the training to promote safe sleep for infants during October.

Kern County ranks 10th statewide in the infant mortality rate with the top three causes being prematurity, congenital anomalies, and unexpected infant deaths that occur during sleep. The death of any infant is tragic, but it's especially tragic when it is entirely preventable, organizers said.

KCNC and Kern Cares said one of the most important things a baby needs is a safe place to sleep. From sleeping with parents and siblings to cribs filled with blankets and toys, a baby's risk of dying from suffocation and accidents increases 40 times when his/her sleep area is not appropriate for a baby.

Since 2008, 49 Kern County infants have died in their sleep with most linked to an unsafe sleep environment - an average of 10 babies each year.

During the month of October, Kern Cares and the Kern County Department of Public Health is inviting the community to be a Kern Cares Infant Safe Sleep Partner and commit to helping parents know the importance of safe sleep practices in protecting their babies from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep.

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