October is SIDS Awareness Month

October is SIDS Awareness Month. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the diagnosis given for the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation is conducted. Since many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, some people refer to SIDS as crib death; however, cribs do not cause SIDS. Studies and research indicate that SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. Although there currently is no way of medically preventing SIDS, there are steps and measures parents, grandparents, and child care providers can take to lower the risk of children dying from SIDS.

In an effort to more effectively address this issue, the North Carolina Division of Child Development in collaboration with the NC Healthy Start Foundation initiated the ITS-SIDS (Infant-Toddler Safe Sleep & Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Risk Reduction in Child Care) Project. This train-the-trainer initiative is designed to focus on the reduction of SIDS in child care settings in North Carolina. This project serves to:

The Project began on July 1, 2002 and initially was designed to continue through June 30, 2004. However, the project was recently extended to June 30, 2005 because of recent legislation within the NC General Assembly. House Bill 152, effective December 1, 2003, will now require child care providers to position babies, 12 months of age or younger, on their backs for sleeping and to receive training on safe sleep practices. The exceptions for the back-to-sleep position for babies in child care are:

  1. a written waiver from a medical professional for babies 6 months or younger;
  2. a written waiver from a medical professional, parent or legal guardian for babies older than 6 months.

During Phase 1 (July 1, 2002 June 30, 2003) of the ITS-SIDS Project, approximately 2,000 child care providers have received ITS-SIDS training. As well, 46 counties now have ITS-SIDS trainers that have been trained to provide education and training to child care providers within NC counties with the highest SIDS rates. NCs remaining 54 counties will receive training during Phase 2 of the project. For more information on the ITS-SIDS Project, go to http://www.nchealthystart.org/its-sidschildcare.html.

 For more information about SIDS, go to the following web sites:

 First Candle/SIDS Alliance www.sidsalliance.org

 National SIDS Resource Center www.sidscenter.org

 Health Child Care America Back to Sleep Campaign http://www.healthychildcare.org/section_SIDS.cfm