KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Health Department is bringing awareness to safe sleep practices for infants and babies.

KCHD plans to use social media to offer evidence-based guidelines and tips to ensure caregivers feel empowered to make safe sleep choices for their infants.

“Recently, our region has seen an alarming rise in the number of accidental infant deaths, most of which
are related to unsafe sleep practices,” said KCHD Health Promotion Program Manager Katherine Larsen.
“These are tragedies that can be largely prevented through awareness and putting safe sleep recommendations into practice. Through this campaign, we hope to reduce the number of families who experience the unimaginable pain of losing a baby.”

President Joe Biden also signed the Safe Sleep Act of 2021 in May of this year. The act makes it unlawful to manufacture, sell, or distribute certain baby products moving forward, including inclined sleepers and crib bumpers.

KCHD recommends that parents follow safe sleep environmental tips to reduce the risks of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation.

See the following for best practices from the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to KCHD:

  • Share a room with the baby for at least the first six months with the baby in their own sleep space like a crib, bassinet or portable pack and play.
  • Place all babies, including those born preterm and those with reflux, on their backs for all sleep times (naps and at night) until they are one year old.
  • Use a sleep surface for the baby that is firm and flat level, not at an angle or inclined and covered only with a fitted sheet in a safety-approved crib, bassinet or portable crib.
  • Keep things out of baby’s sleep area, no objects, toys or loose items.

Here are the list of items to remove from a baby’s sleeping area:

  • Soft or squishy (pillows, stuffed animals and crib bumpers)
  • Plush or thick (comforters and blankets)
  • Loose (non-fitted sheets and blankets)
  • Weighted (weighted blankets, weighted swaddles, weighted objects)

For more information, visit KCHD website or strongbabyknox.org.