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SWEET DREAMS

- Northumberland Children’s Services Provides Training to Local Agencies to Ensure a Safer Sleep for Babies -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – A training initiative for family-service agencies in Northumberland County is helping to ensure parents rest a bit easier at night knowing their babies enjoy a safe sleeping environment.

This spring, the Northumberland Children’s Services Committee completed a Safe Sleep for Infants training program for its approximate 30 member agencies, including health care providers, social services agencies, educational organizations and child care operators. The training provides front-line employees at each agency with information so they can help local families prepare safe sleeping conditions for their infants and babies to reduce death and injury, including incidences of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

To do this, local agencies will be encouraging parents and caregivers to:

  • Ensure smoke-free homes for babies and children
  • Lay babies on their backs to sleep, whether at naptime or night time
  • Have babies sleep in a crib next to the adults’ beds for the first six months of life
  • Provide a ‘safe crib environment’ that means no pillows, stuffed toys, positioners, bumper pads or loose bedding in the crib.

For families who cannot afford to provide a safe crib for their children, financial assistance may be available to cover the costs. For more information, call Info Northumberland at 1-800-396-6626. These details will also be shared by member agencies of Northumberland Children’s Services Committee.

“Creating a safe environment for infants and babies to sleep is important for their health and well-being,” says Tami Callahan, of the Northumberland Children’s Services Committee’s Safe Sleep Subcommittee. “Providing a safe place to sleep is no different than ensuring a toddler is properly secured in a car seat when driving in a vehicle, or having a young child wearing a life jacket when out in a boat on the water.”

The Northumberland Children’s Service Committee is providing the Safe Sleep for Infants training in response to recent findings by Ontario’s Office of the Chief Coroner. In 2009, the Coroner’s office found two-thirds of all undetermined infant deaths in Ontario involved an unsafe sleeping environment, including the sharing of a sleep surface. Based on its findings, the Coroner’s office recommended that parents and caregivers avoid sharing a bed with young babies, as well as avoid putting blankets and bumper pads in their crib due to suffocation risks for young children.

In 2011, these recommendations were strongly echoed in a Joint Statement on Safe Sleep that was created to prevent SIDS and other infant deaths in Canada that occur during sleep. The statement was endorsed by the several national groups, including Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

“These recommendations are not without controversy, and may cause confusion,” says Callahan. “That is where the Safe Sleep for Infants training for our partner agencies can help. The intent is not to tell parents and caregivers what to do, but provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision that is best for their families.”

The Safe Sleep For Infants training has been well-received in the community. Staff with the Northumberland Ontario Early Years Centre took part in the training sessions and found it invaluable. “They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Thanks to Northumberland Children’s Service Committee, family service providers in the area are better able to support families and educate parents about safe sleep for their children,” says Marina Turner-Johanssen, of the Northumberland Ontario Early Years Centre. The Northumberland Children's Services Committee helps to plan and implement services that respond to the needs of families, children and youth in Northumberland.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Lynne Franke, Manager Family Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit at 705-324-3569 ext. 213.

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