LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed September as Safe Sleep Awareness Month in recognition of the need to educate Arkansas parents and caregivers about how to keep infants safe as they sleep.

In 2016, approximately 300 infants in Arkansas died before their first birthday and nearly one quarter of the deaths were sudden, unexpected infant deaths (SUID), a majority of which were sleep-related.

In order to keep infants safe while sleeping, parents should always place the baby on his or her back for naps and at night; use a firm surface; keep pillows, blankets, or crib bumpers out of the sleep area; keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of the sleep area; dress the baby in a one-piece sleeper; and breastfeed the baby and use a dry pacifier without a string attached to reduce the risk of SUIDs.

“Safe sleep practices are crucial for the health and safety of infants in Arkansas,” said Brad Planey, Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Family Health Branch Chief. “We are working with many partners within the state to educate families about this issue and give them the support they need.”

In addition to the governor’s proclamation, the ADH will be co-hosting the 2018 Arkansas Safe Sleep Awareness Walk with Sisters United, Brothers United, and the Safe Sleep Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network.

The walk will take place at the War Memorial North Lawn Walking Trail on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Onsite registration for the walk will be at 9:30 a.m., and the walk will officially start at 11 a.m.

2018 Safe Sleep_1536868511864.PNG.jpg
Arkansas Department of Health

The event will include a Kids’ Corner and activities hosted by St. Mark Baptist Church, vendor booths, and door prizes and drawings. Lunch will be provided as well.

It is encourage to register before the walk. You can find the registration here.

Speakers will also host a Safe Sleep Community Forum from 10:05 - 10:50 a.m., and the event will conclude with an acknowledgement of the babies that passed away from SUID in 2017.