SW Virginia Alliance for Safe Babies

Roanoke Fire-EMS is pleased to be a member of the SW Virginia Alliance for Safe Babies. This alliance has been formed to share vital safety information regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Avoiding Shaken Baby Syndrome
You know how frustrating it can be when you have tried everything to comfort your crying baby. No 1 ever thinks they will shake their baby, despite how frustrated they may get. Yet research shows that crying is the number 1 trigger that leads parents and caregivers to violently shake and injure babies. This dangerous action can cause severe brain, skull or spinal injuries that may be permanent or even fatal.

The good news is that it is 100% preventable! Finding support and learning coping strategies when dealing with your crying baby will help reduce the number of needless cases that occur.

Here are some suggestions for soothing your crying baby:

First, make sure your baby's basic needs are met:
  • Are they hungry?
  • Are they too hot or too cold?
  • Is their diaper changed?
  • Is their clothing too tight or snug?
If you think your baby is sick, call his or her doctor for advice.

If your baby keeps crying despite meeting all of his or her basic needs, you can try any or all of the following:
  • Hold your baby close against your chest and gently massage.
  • Rock your baby, walk or dance while holding your baby.
  • Offer a pacifier, or a clean pinky-finger if breastfeeding.
  • Lower any surrounding noise and lights.
  • Offer your baby a favorite toy, shake and rattle it or play soft music.
  • Sing or talk to your baby using soothing tones.
  • If it's not too hot or too cold outside, take your baby for a walk in a stroller.
  • Be patient! Take a deep breath and count to 10.
  • Call a friend or relative that you can trust to take over for a while, then get away, get some rest, take care of yourself!
Remember - it's okay to leave your baby safe in his or her crib and walk away for a few minutes.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
You can help prevent SIDS by following these steps for prevention.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest. Every sleep time counts.
  • Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, couches or other soft surfaces.
  • Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby's crib and sleep area. Do not use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or any bumper pads in your baby's crib or sleep area. Keep stuffed animals out of the crib!
  • Do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Keep your baby's crib, bassinet or sleep area close to where you and others sleep. Your baby should never sleep in a bed, on a couch or armchair with adults, other children, or pets. If you bring your baby into bed with you to breastfeed, be sure to place him or her back in your baby's separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib or cradle. Never sleep with your baby.
  • You may use a clean, dry pacifier when placing your baby down to sleep, but don't force your baby to take it. If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended to wait until your baby is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.
  • Do not let your baby overheat during sleep by using excess clothing or blankets. Dress your baby in light clothing for sleep and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable.
  • Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Most of these products have not been tested for safety or adequacy.
  • Avoid the use of home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. Talk to your baby's pediatrician about the use of home monitors for other things.
  • Breastfeed your baby if possible. Breastfeeding not only gives your baby necessary nutrients and antibodies, studies show that breastfed babies have reduced rates of SIDS.