There are few things more emotionally connecting for the parents of young children then to have their child beside them, in bed, and to just watch them as they sleep, like angels.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has a message for parents who do this: Don’t.

It’s just one aspect of a massive multi-libgual child health public education program to get the word out on what medical experts are calling “safe sleep” practices.

Besides the risk of smothering a child if a parent rolls over, the campaign will also highlight how to prevent injuries and deaths associated with other unsafe sleep practices, such as excessive bedding, bumpers and toys in cribs.

Here are the frightening stats:

  • Between 2004 and 2011, the majority of infant injury deaths were sleep-related.
  • Infants between 28 days and 4 months old, black non-Hispanic infants, babies born pre-term, and babies born to adolescent mothers were at a higher risk for sleep-related death than other infants.
  • While the rate of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) cases has gone down in the last decade, the number of infant deaths from a sleep-related injury has not changed in the past several years – every year an average of 48 infants die from a preventable sleep-related injury.

“Many parents may not know that sharing a bed and other unsafe sleep practices put babies at risk,” de Blasio said in statement announcing the campaign.

“We must step up efforts to make families aware of the importance of safe sleep practices, including placing your baby on her back, alone in a crib, keeping excessive bedding and other soft objects out of the crib, and keeping a smoke-free home.”

The effort is being run by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, and includes teams from the Administration for Children Services (ACS), Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Human Resources Administration, (HRA), Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

“The first months of parenting are stressful and might lead to loving, but unsafe, practices. We can help parents by making information and resources available to support best sleep practices,” said Barrios-Paoli.

“The safety of our children in shelters throughout the city is of the utmost importance,” said DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor. “DHS has prioritized safe sleep as part of our child safety efforts. We work closely with our staff and providers to ensure that families with young children are fully educated on safe sleeping practices and have well-maintained cribs in their units.”

Here are some tips:

  • Always place your baby to sleep on her back.
  • Your baby should sleep in a safety-approved crib near your bed. Sleeping in the same room as your baby (sometimes referred to as room-sharing) is recommended; sleeping on the same surface as your baby (sometime referred to as bed-sharing) is not recommended.
  • Breastfeeding mothers should place their baby back into her crib before going to sleep.
  • Nothing but your baby should be in the crib (no pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects).
  • Cribs should have a firm mattress with a fitted sheet only.
  • No smoking around your baby.

For more info, got to, and enter the words “infant safety.”

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