Having a new baby is overwhelming. Parents have so much information to absorb, so many cries to answer and endless diapers to change. Fort Bragg’s New Parent Support Program helps make new parents’ lives a little easier with education and a simple piece of clothing.
All parents who deliver at Womack Army Medical Center take part in an educational seminar about newborn safety before they are discharged from the hospital, said Sue O’Brien, supervisory nurse specialist, NPSP manager.
An important part of this seminar includes information about prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is the leading cause of death in infants aged one month to one year old.
“Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, those kinds of things in the bed because they have the ability to ride up and cover the baby’s face, increasing the risk of SIDs,” O’Brien said.
After the seminar, parents receive a free sleep sack for their baby. O’Brien said the sleep sack takes the place of swaddling and is easy to use because it just zips up.
“Really all it is is a little blanket that zips up and keeps them warm but it doesn’t have the ability to cover their face,” she said.
However, O’Brien cautioned that while using the sleep sack will help reduce the risk of SIDs, it won’t eradicate the risk completely.
“It’s really just one part of several things parents can do to reduce the risk of SIDs,” she said.
Another important practice parents should invoke to reduce SIDs risk is always putting their baby to sleep on its back, advised O’Brien.
“Use the back to sleep position every time,” she said. “Babies who usually sleep on their back but then are placed on their stomachs, like for a nap, are at a very high risk for SIDs.”
It is important for parents to share this information with all caretakers, emphasized O’Brien. Other factors for SIDs prevention include:
Use a firm sleep surface, like a safety-approved crib with a fitted crib sheet
Never let a baby sleep in an adult bed
Do not smoke or allow smoking around the baby
Give the baby a dry pacifier when it is in bed
Do not let the baby get too hot
O’Brien highlighted the importance of using a fitted crib sheet, rather than a twin sheet pulled tight. She said that parents who have trouble with resources for proper baby items can call the NPSP.
“We have tons of resources and we are happy to help them and share those resources so they can get what they need to keep their baby safe,” she said.
Military Families who deliver outside of WAMC are also eligible to receive a free sleep sack from the NPSP. These parents just need to call the NPSP and they will provide one with education on how to use it properly, O’Brien said.
For more information about the sleep sack or other programs for new parents, call the NPSP at 396-7951.