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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Jan 25

Go Back for Safe Sleep

Posted on January 25, 2018 at 1:33 PM by Doug Bolnick


A sleeping baby is among the most peaceful and adorable things in the world. It is recommended that newborns (ages 0–2 months) sleep up to 18 hours a day, infants (312 months) get 15 hours of a sleep each day and toddlers (1–3 years) sleep at least 14 hours a day for restoration and brain development.
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Safe Sleep

Unfortunately, there are thousands of sleep-related deaths among American babies each year. A dedicated campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations was developed in the 1990s and continues today to reduce these incidences. This campaign and related studies have proven that placing a baby on his/her back during sleep will decrease the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation and other sleep-related deaths.

"Back to Sleep"

To help promote safer sleeping habits, the “Back to Sleep” campaign offers these recommendations:
  • Always place babies on their backs when taking naps or sleeping for the night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface that is covered by a fitted sheet to reduce suffocation risks.
  • Share a room with your baby, but ensure that he/she sleeps alone in a safety-approved crib—not in an adult bed, chair, couch or other furniture.
  • Do not place soft objects, bumpers, toys or loose bedding in baby’s sleep area.
  • Dress the baby in light sleep clothing and do not let him/her to become too hot during sleep.
  • Do not use pacifiers on a string during sleep or nap times.
  • Encourage “tummy time” for the baby when they are awake and an adult caregiver is watching closely to build head, neck and abdominal muscles and prevent flat spots.
  • Do not allow cigarette smoke around a baby.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the risk for SIDS. A mother’s milk possesses essential nutrients that help her baby grow and enhance brain development. Because the process also promotes the bond between a mother and child, it’s recommended that infants breastfeed until they’re at least 12 months of age. For mothers in need of education and assistance, St. Charles County’s WIC program provides lactation support through its Peer Counseling program led by our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Megan Hickey.

For additional recommendations to promote safe sleep, please speak with your child’s pediatrician.

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Seatbelt use by family