A caregiver’s relationship with an infant is a special bond and parents are secure in the knowledge that their baby will be cared for with love and concern.  The death of an infant in the daycare setting impacts the caregiver tremendously and some decide they can no longer continue as a daycare provider.

Each year over 3500 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or other sleep-related deaths such as accidental suffocation.   Unfortunately the rate of death in the daycare setting are high.  In fact 20% of SIDS deaths happen in childcare settings, most commonly in the first week.

As per the AAP  many infant deaths occur when babies used to sleeping on their backs are placed to sleep on their tummies by a different caregiver. Babies who experience this “unaccustomed tummy sleeping” are 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.

In a study of babies under 3 months who began going to licensed child care centers, two researchers found that the babies’ typical sleep habits were generally disrupted as they transitioned to the new environment. Levels of cortisol, a.k.a. the “stress hormone,” were also higher during this transition time, and the infants’ day and nighttime rhythms were thrown off.

Understanding the safe sleep guidelines and having a written agreement with parents about the daycare facility’s policy will go a long way in reducing the risk of SIDS deaths.  First Candle provides training on safe sleep guidelines and how to set up a safe sleep environment for child care providers.

Establishing a Safe Sleep Policy for your daycare facility is imperative and should include:

  • Rule that healthy babies always sleep on their backs
  • A physician’s note is required for non–back sleepers (The note should include prescribed sleep position and reason for not using the back position)
  • Only safety-approved cribs and firm mattresses will be used
  • The crib will be free of toys, stuffed animals, blankets, pillows and excess bedding
  • Sleep only one baby per crib
  • Room temperature is defined as comfortable for a lightly clothed adult
  • Sleeping babies will be consistently monitored
  • Babies will have supervised tummy time when awake
  • Staff will be trained about safe sleep policy and practices

You can download a Safe Sleep Policy here to share with your clients.