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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

Safe Sleep training available for area child care providers

Child care nurse consultant Jane Matzen said parents should make sure their child care provider follows the recommended practices for sleeping infants.
By VICKI TILLIS. Ledger lifestyles editor | Jan 22, 2014

Healthy Child Care Iowa, part of the Iowa Department of Public Health, is offering new training for child care providers on the safe sleep of infants and recommended policies for child care businesses.

“I have recently heard about two cases of Iowa infants dying in child care, but they were in unsafe sleep environments,” said Jane Matzen, child care nurse consultant with American Home Finding Association in Ottumwa — a position funded by both the Jefferson and Keokuk County Early Childhood Iowa and the Mahaska and Wapello County Early Childhood Iowa. “One infant reportedly had gone to sleep on a pillow on the floor. The other infant was reportedly placed to sleep in a crib in a back bedroom with toys and blankets in the crib.”

According to Matzen, all providers who have infants in their care need to attend the new training, Safe Sleep.

“[American Academy of Pediatrics] safe-sleep recommendations for child care providers are more rigorous than their recommendations for parents,” said Matzen. “This is because more infants die in child care settings from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than when in parents’ care.”

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development defines SIDS as the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history. SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion, assigned only once all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out.

SIDS deaths occur unexpectedly and quickly to apparently healthy infants, usually during periods of sleep. SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented and can claim any baby, in spite of parents doing everything right. It is not caused by suffocation, choking, smothering, child abuse or neglect. It is not contagious, and it occurs in families of all races and socioeconomic levels.

Safe Sleep training is appropriate for both child development home providers and center staff working with infants. During the training, participants will gain an understanding of SIDS, the risk factors associated with SIDS including risks in the child care setting, implementing risk reduction strategies, developing a safe-sleep policy and emergency procedures for an unresponsive infant.

The training will be offered from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Jefferson County ISU Extension Office; Feb. 6 at the Great Prairie Area Education Agency in Ottumwa; Feb. 18 at the Cedar Bluff Learning Center on the Mahaska Health Partnership campus in Oskaloosa; and Feb. 26 at the Pekin Child Care Center and Preschool in Packwood.

Matzen said anyone who has problems enrolling on the Iowa Department of Human Services training registry can contact her by calling 641-682-3449 or emailing jmatzen@ahfa.org.

According to the AAP’s “A Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep,” SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 12 months of age, and is most common among infants who are 1-4 months old, however, babies can die from SIDS until they are 1 year old.”

The guide also states:

• “About one in five [SIDS] deaths occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. Many of these deaths occur when babies who are used to sleeping on their backs at home are then placed to sleep on their tummies by another caregiver. We call this ‘unaccustomed tummy sleeping.’”

• “Unaccustomed tummy sleeping increased the risk of SIDS. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs and are placed to sleep on their tummies are 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.”

• “You can reduce your baby’s risk of dying from SIDS by talking to those who care for your baby, including child care providers, babysitters, family, and friends, about placing your baby to sleep on his back during naps and at night.”

Matzen said parents should follow safe-sleep practices and provide a safe-sleep environment for their baby. She said parents also should question child care providers about sleep practices and sleep environments used at their homes or facilities.

Matzen said licensed and registered child care providers “go above and beyond to fulfill the recommendations” of the APP.

She said the “Infant Safe Sleep in Child Care Policy” has stricter rules to follow than the recommendations made for parents to follow at home. As an example, she said no toys, pillows, bumper pads, blankets, mobiles are used in cribs, and sleeping infants “will be actively observed by sight and sound.”

For more information, contact Matzen or visit the Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral website at www.iowaccrr.org, the Iowa Department of Health’s Healthy Child Care Iowa website at www.idph.state.ia.us/hcci or the AAP website at www.aap.org.

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