Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed November 8th through November 14th Infant Safe Sleep Week in Minnesota.

"Unsafe sleep environments and practices can put infants at increased risk of accidental suffocation and strangulation, resulting in preventable deaths."  That's how a news release from the Rice County Public Health Department opens announcing this special designation.

The release goes on to say:

"The COVID-19 pandemic also has the potential to put infants at risk. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection widely circulating throughout Minnesota. Researchers have found that many infants who have died unexpectedly had a recent upper-respiratory infection or cold. In addition, the pandemic may cause additional stress and fatigue, making it crucial for anyone who takes care of babies, including parents, caregivers, child care providers, health care providers, and family members, to follow safe sleep practices every time an infant sleeps or naps.

Key takeaways for parents and other caregivers is to know the ABCs of safe sleep:

  • ALONE: Infants should always sleep or nap alone.
  • BACK: Always put a baby on their back to sleep or nap.
  • CRIB: Babies should always sleep or nap in their own safety-approved crib or play yard withoutblankets or pillows

Rice County Public Health would like to help share this message with all caregivers of infants and young children. “All caregivers should know and practice the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: A baby should sleep alone, on his or her back, in a safe crib,” says Angie Nagel, Rice County Family Child Health Supervisor. “Crib mattresses should be firm, sheets should fit tightly and there shouldn’t be anything else in the crib, including pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed animals and toys.” Infants also should not be placed to sleep on a couch, in a car seat, or in the caregiver’s bed.

Rice County Public Health staff are available to conduct a home safety visit for caregivers of young children. In partnership with “Cradle of Hope,” staff are also able to provide a portable crib if needed, to ensure that every baby has a safe place to sleep. For more information, contact Angie Nagel, Rice County Public Health Family Child Health Supervisor at 507-321-4978."

More information on infant safe sleep, can be found at the Minnesota Department of Health website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/womeninfants/infantmort/safesleep.html