By Jon King /

Local agencies are coordinating a campaign this month to emphasize the importance of safe sleep practices for infants.

September is "Safe Sleep Month" in Michigan and LACASA Center’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council and the Livingston County Health Department are working in tandem by raising awareness about safe sleep practices. According to a release, while safe sleep is an important part of keeping infants healthy, it is more so now as parents of infants may be experiencing increased stress and fatigue due to COVID-19 that could affect their infants’ sleep practices. They advise that you can help reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths by following safe sleep guidelines.

Holly Naylor, the CAP Council coordinator, says they want to make sure that every parent, grandparent, and caregiver is aware that the safest sleep environment is when infants are put to sleep alone, on their back, and in their own crib or bassinet. “For at least the first six months, babies should sleep in their parents’ room,” Naylor said, “but always on their back and alone in their own separate sleeping environment, which should contain only a firm mattress and fitted sheet—no blankets, toys, or crib bumpers.”

According to Elaine Brown, Deputy Health Officer and Personal/Preventive Health Services Director for the Livingston County Health Department, there were five sleep-related infant deaths in the county between 2015 and 2019. “Sleep-related infant death is a leading cause of death among infants less than one year old in Michigan,” said Brown. “While there are a variety of factors that impact a caregiver’s daily choices regarding the child’s sleep environment, it is important they know that sleep-related deaths are 100 percent preventable, and it is up to all of us to continue to work to decrease the number of sleep-related infant deaths in Livingston County.” Brown reminds parents to “Always follow the A-B-Cs: put baby to sleep alone, on his/her back, and in an empty crib. It’s also important to stress using the A-B-Cs to any relatives, friends, or babysitters caring for your child,” she said.

The CAP Council and MSU Extension have collaborated to create a free online infant safety class about the guideline of safe sleep, how to safely cope with infant crying, and car seat safety. Instructions on registering for the S.C.D- Sleeping Crying Driving class can be found at

Local families who complete the class can receive a sleep sack and other safe sleep and Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention materials.

Safe sleep displays will be up at locations throughout Livingston County, and select local libraries will offer virtual safe sleep presentations through Baby Story Time programs. Details are available if you contact the CAP Council at 517-548-1350 or

Safe sleep steps recommended by the Health Department can be found on the Michigan Department of Human Services website at

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one in five deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. For that reason, parents are urged not only to engage in safe sleep practices at home, but to share that information with everyone who cares for their baby.

For more information about safe sleep for infants, contact LACASA’s CAP Council at 517-548-1350, or the Livingston County Health Department at 517-546-9850.