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Newport News leaders, health experts launch campaign to prevent sudden infant deaths

The Newport News Human Services Department has launched its 'On the Safe Side' campaign to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Author's Note: The above video is on file from Feb. 15, 2021.

If your baby has been sleeping peacefully through the night, checking on them periodically could prevent a possible unexpected tragedy.

The Newport News Department of Human Services said five sudden infant deaths have happened in the city since January. Studies showed that those cases were caused by unsafe sleeping arrangements including unsafe bedding -- soft or loose blankets. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has caused one out of three unexplained infant deaths in the United States. Those incidents happened while the babies were asleep.

That's why Newport News is pushing out its "On the Safe Side" sleep campaign to prevent future baby deaths. Parents and caregivers will have a chance to learn safe sleeping practices. 

It's part of the 'Safe to Sleep' initiative by the National Institute of Health.

RELATED: CDC study says unsafe bedding leading cause of sudden unexpected infant death

“Raising a child can be overwhelming, and new parents especially have a great deal they must learn when they bring their baby home from the hospital,” said Ven Thomas, Director of the Newport News Department of Human Services. “This campaign shares critical information with parents and encourages them to remain ‘On the Safe Side’ when it comes to their child’s sleep practices. We are also conducting extensive outreach to expectant and new parents to ensure safe sleep remains top of mind.”

Here are some of the tips to keeping your infant safe:

  • Baby should always sleep on their back, to lessen the chances of SIDS.
  • Sleep them on a firm and flat mattress in a crib that is safety-approved. Do not use any bumpers, stuffed animals or blankets in the crib. 
  • Babies should be in their own sleeping space -- not sleeping with others.
  • Check to make sure the baby isn't wearing anything loose like hats or clip-on pacifiers.
  • Do not sleep your baby in a seat or swing for long periods of time.

City officials are encouraging the community to share their photos and use the hashtag #onthesafeside.

For more information about the campaign, please visit the National Institute of Health website. 

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