The ABCs of Safe Sleep

By Cassandra Harris

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If you’re a new parent, you may have noticed that your newborn does not share the same sleep schedules as the rest of your household.  While patterns may change, newborn babies sleep up to 16 hours a day. With so many hours spent asleep, it’s important to make sure that where and how your baby sleeps is safe.

Sleep-related accidents are among the leading causes of infant mortality in South Carolina. One of the best ways to prevent sleep related deaths is by following the ABC’s of Safe Sleep – leave your baby Alone on their Back in their Crib.

New data reveals a significant reduction in accidental sleep-related deaths among infants in South Carolina, highlighting a 41% drop from 2012 to 2013. To keep these numbers moving in the right direction, DHEC is partnering with organizations across the state to promote safe sleep education.

In collaboration with our partners at Children’s Trust and members of the SC Safe Sleep Coalition, we have developed a new curriculum to promote safe sleep best practices. Through providing across-the-board messaging, this curriculum ensures that anyone carrying or advising on the care of an infant (i.e. mothers, fathers, grandparents, doctors, nurses, daycare workers, etc.) receives consistent education. In addition, we are working to increase safe sleep education in counties with the most sleep-related deaths.

While DHEC and our partners continue to work to reduce the risk of sleep related accidents, the most important work begins at home. Here are some things that you can do to help promote infant safety:

  • Remember the ABCs: leave your baby Alone on their Back in their Crib without blankets, pillows or bumper pads.
  • Get healthy before you get pregnant:
    • Quit smoking – Pregnant women can call our Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help.
    • Get chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension under control.

For more information on safe-sleep practices, please visit: ​

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