Childcare providers play a vital role in children’s development and safety. Safe sleep practices in the childcare center or home help reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID), including SIDS. Facilities should have clear safe sleep policies that aim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other unexpected infant deaths that occur in a crib or while asleep.
All staff, parents/guardians, volunteers, and others who care for infants in the childcare setting should follow these required safe sleep practices as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As childcare professionals, you have a responsibility and parents expect you to:
- Know the standard of care.
- Educate parents.
- Develop and maintain a policy regarding safe sleep.
- Be able to handle an infant medical emergency.
Safe Sleep Policies: A setting policy on infant safe sleep demonstrates to parents that their baby's health and safety is your top priority, educates staff, ensures consistent care, and most importantly, may save the lives of babies! You can view an example of a childcare safe sleep policy from Healthy Childcare Iowa here.
Unresponsive Infant Drills: Although SIDS/SUID does not occur often, it is important for childcare providers to be prepared in case of an emergency involving an unresponsive infant. Like practicing fire drills, the staff should be informed of, and prepared to carry out, the steps included in an unresponsive infant drill.
For answers for frequently asked questions related to safe sleep and the childcare environment, click here.