Infant Safe Sleep

Unsafe sleep practices are one of the leading causes of death among otherwise healthy infants under the age of one in Washoe County. Unfortunately, there have been 23 infant deaths in Washoe County from Fiscal Years 2016 to 2020, all due to unsafe sleep situations.

The Washoe County Human Services Agency (HSA) encourages parents, child care providers and others caring for infants to practice the ABCs of safe sleep. A baby should always sleep ALONE, on its BACK and in a CRIB or bassinet, with a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheets. Dangerous items that could impede an infant’s ability to breath include toys, pillows or blankets.

Several studies show co-sleeping with an infant is dangerous. Babies can suffocate as a result of sleeping in an adult bed or on other surfaces such as couches, armchairs or even pillows. Babies under the age of one have not developed muscles strong enough to roll over or lift their heads if unable to breath.

HSA partners with several agencies in Washoe County in a community outreach campaign to promote safe sleep practices every October, which is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month.  For more information about infant safe sleep and a list of FAQs, check out this brochure.




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