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Each year, approximately 30-40 Massachusetts infants die due to sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), sometimes called SIDS. Research shows that many of these tragic deaths occur in sleep positions and environments that are unsafe.

To prevent the risk of SUID, public health officials are rolling out a new public education campaign, designed to encourage parents to protect their babies by placing infants on their backs in an empty crib for every sleep.

The safe sleep campaign recommends that caregivers:

  • Always place the infant on their back to sleep for naps and at night
  • Keep the infant in a safety-approved crib or bassinet, with a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet
  • Never sleep with or place the infant down to sleep on a sofa, futon, or cushioned chair
  • Keep toys, blankets, pillows, or bumper pads and everything else out of the crib or bassinet
  • Never smoke around an infant or where they sleep

Campaign ads will be seen on public transit systems in areas with the highest rates of sudden unexpected infant death, including Boston, Fall River and New Bedford, Athol and Gardner, and Greenfield.

The campaign was guided by an interagency task force including staff from the Infant Safe Sleep program in DPH’s Division of Violence Injury Prevention. That program strives to educate parents, caregivers, and providers about how to ensure babies have a safe and secure environment in which to sleep.

For more information, visit the Infant Safe Sleep page on the DPH website: www.mass.gov/safesleep.

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health communication writer and editor

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