According to the 2018 Statistics of causes of infant death, accidental injury ranked the 4th highest cause of infant death, among which 75% deaths were caused from accidental suffocation. Accidental suffocation cases, were in some instances caused by inaccurate sleeping positions, thus, HPA urges parents to follow “5 peaceful sleeping positions”, which are “do not sleep on stomach”, “no pillows”, “do not sleep on the same bed”, “avoid overheating”, “no soft objects”, so as to avoid exposing your baby to sudden infant death and suffocation crisis. When you are looking forward for you baby to grow up in front of you, don’t forget to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
Must know facts about safe sleep for babies
At the beginning of this year (2020), the news media reported a 2 months old baby boy sleeping on his stomach was left alone in a room by a caregiver, resulted into death by suffocation even after being sent to the hospital. In fact, there are many widely circulated false information on baby sleep, such as: when baby sleeps on their back it will cause choking on milk causing suffocation, or sleeping on their back will affect the shape of their head, and also some people think that the baby is more at ease when sleeping on their stomach. In actuality, all these are false information! The correct sleeping position is to sleep on their back, sleeping on the back will not cause the aforementioned results, however, sleeping in the stomach or using a pillow are more likely to cause suffocation and other such accidents.
Last year, an 18 months old baby boy sleeping with his parents on the same bed was suffocated by the adult’s body and blanket covering his mouth and nose. Another case was of a 6 months old baby girl, temporarily left alone in a crib by the caregiver, and due to the arrangements of toys and other stuff on the bed, the nose and mouth of the baby was pressed against the toys bag causing suffocation, and was declared dead by the rescuers. Parents make baby sleep with them on the same bed for the ease of care, or due to the fear of their baby catching a cold, lay thick cushions and quilts, and also fill the crib with toys, all these are actually the cause for sudden infant death. Sleeping position and environment are closely related to your baby’s safety, inaccurate concepts can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or death from suffocation.
5 peaceful sleeping positions: let your baby sleep with ease
How to provide your child with a safe and comfortable sleeping environment? HPA provides easy to remember formula “5 peaceful sleeping positions”, to let parents easily grasp the details and ensure your baby’s healthy and safe growth.
1. “Do not sleep on stomach”: The correct sleeping position is on their back. It is not recommended for babies to sleep on their side, because they can turn from side sleep to sleeping on their stomach. In addition, never let your baby sleep face down on the parent’s or caregiver’s body.
2. “No pillows”: Babies 1 year old and below do not need pillows nor require elevation of their head.
3. “Do not sleep on the same bed”: Please follow the principle of “same room different bed”, do not let your baby sleep with caregiver or siblings on the same bed.
4. “Avoid overheating”: Maintain proper ventilation, if you need to keep your baby warm, you can use sleep sack type pajamas or wrap your baby with a swaddle, and remember to expose their arms and avoid covering their face.
5. “No soft objects”: The sleeping area should not have any soft objects, such as pillows, quilts, blankets and stuffed dolls. Mattress should be hard and firm, and the use of anti-collision pads around the bed is not recommended.
Complying with the “5 peaceful sleeping positions” for your baby, can substantially decline the risk of sudden infant death and death from suffocation. In addition, parents can refer to the Children’s Health Handbook for information on “Neo-natal care knowhow - A safe sleeping environment”. Check your baby’s sleeping environment, and you can also link to our website (https://www.hpa.gov.tw/Pages/List.aspx?nodeid=4150) for relevant information, to ensure your baby’s sleep safety.
News information inquiry: Senior Specialist Ms. Chen, Maternal and Child Health Division
Phone no: 02-25220585
New contact: Senior Specialist Ms. Yeh, Congressional and press liaison unit
Phone No: 02-25220585