A new state law requires hospitals to show parents a short film promoting safe sleep habits for newborn babies.
Parents are already required to watch a video about shaken baby syndrome, which may cause brain injury if infants are handled roughly. But research shows unsafe sleep habits can be just as deadly.
In South Carolina an average of six infants die every month due to dangerous sleep practices.
In fact, babies are 18 times more likely to die from a sleep-related accident than in a motor vehicle crash, said Melanie “BZ” Giese, director of the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative.
It isn’t a problem unique to South Carolina, she said.
“It’s universally a problem in other states,” Giese said.
Experts agree the safest sleep environment for infants is on their back in an empty crib. Decorative crib bumpers, stuffed animals, toys, pillows and blankets can be deadly.
“The crib should be bare,” the American Academy of Pediatrics explained when the group updated its sleep recommendations in 2016.
AAP recommends babies sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed, which may be dangerous.
Likewise, infants are also at risk if they fall asleep on a couch or while breastfeeding.
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Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.