Creating a Safe Sleep Environment for the Baby

    TORONTO, June 8 /CNW/ - The Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant
Deaths (CFSID) is urging all parents to put their babies on their backs to
sleep, every time they sleep, in order to promote a safe environment. This
follows an increase in the number of SIDS cases according to a recent Ontario
    The number of babies who have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has
risen in just one year in Ontario. "This is a trend that CFSID predicted last
year," said Mary MacCormick, Program Manager for CFSID. Although this report
identifies a need for more education regarding the safe sleep environment,
there seems to be confusion surrounding risk factors and causation.
    "Epidemiological studies have identified an increased risk for SIDS in
association with certain sleeping positions, but the actual cause of SIDS
remains unknown. Therefore while it is prudent and advisable to follow
accepted recommendations regarding sleeping environment, sleep position,
abstinence from smoking, avoiding overheating, incomplete and misleading
information is not helpful to either the parents of SIDS victims or the public
at large," noted Dr. Ernest Cutz, Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee for
    "It has been deeply disturbing and disheartening to receive so many calls
from parents who have experienced the death of their baby and then learn that
the baby died in an unsafe environment because of lack of education in
reducing the risk of SIDS," said MacCormick.
    Despite the dramatic fall since 1996 in the rates for sudden infant death
- commonly known as crib death - SIDS remains Canada's leading cause of death
for babies over one month of age. CFSID receives over one hundred enquiries a
week from parents and health professionals seeking advice and recommendations
for reducing the risk of SIDS.
    "Conflicting messaging is a huge issue," states Irene Morgan, Chair of
the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. Parents are confused
by products being sold on the market that clearly are not safe for infant
sleep as well as by conflicting advice from professionals.
    When the Back to Sleep Campaign was in place during the 1990s, education
was offered to parents. Today parents receive an outdated brochure with little
follow up.

    CFSID's Recommendations for Safe Sleep:

    Babies should always sleep on their back in their own crib preferably in
    their parents' bedroom even while napping.

    The Crib should have a clean, firm mattress.

    Babies should have a smoke free environment before and after birth.

    Babies like to be warm not hot. Ensure babies head remains uncovered
    while sleeping.

    Never use a comforter, duvet, pillows, or bumper pads in a crib.

    Breast feed if possible

    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected death of an
apparently healthy baby whose death remains unexplained after a complete
investigation and autopsy.

    Founded in 1973, The Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths
responds to the needs of families experiencing a sudden, unexpected infant
    We are the only organization in Canada solely dedicated to finding the
cause(s) of (SIDS), to research, public education and the emotional support of
families whose babies have died unexpectedly. At present time SIDS cannot be
predicted nor prevented. Avoidance of risk factors noted above has been shown
to reduce the incidence of SIDS, but did not eliminate it. Further research
into the biological underpinning of SIDS using scientific methods is the only
hope to fully understand this disorder, that some day we may be able to
identify and treat effectively.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: If you would like further
information, or to arrange an interview please call the CFSID National Office
at 1-800-363-7437

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