Safe Sleep for Infants: A Shared Responsibility

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THUNDER BAY – Health – Sudden unexpected death in infancy is one of the leading causes of death of infants less than 12 months of age. Today, professionals from community service agencies throughout the city of Thunder Bay gathered at the Italian Hall to learn about the latest recommendations to prevent these tragic deaths.

The workshop “Safe Sleep for Infants: a Shared Responsibility” was an opportunity for professionals who work with families, including nurses, child and youth workers, early childhood educators and child welfare workers to learn about educating parents of infants less than 12 months of age on key messages to promote safe sleep and prevent infant deaths.

Keynote speaker Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner of Ontario, presented findings from the Pediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under 5 Committee Annual Report 2013. Public health nurses from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit shared practical suggestions from a new guideline released in February by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario titled “Working with Families to Promote Safe Sleep for Infants 0-12 Months of Age.”

Agnes Rissanen and Susan Fitzpatrick from Dilico Anishnabek Family Care presented a First Nations point of view of the issue. Participants had the opportunity to reflect on what they learned today and what they will do differently in their practice to promote safe sleep for infants.

“Investigating the sudden deaths of infants is very important to help us understand what the contributing factors may have been. Our data tells us that the majority of infant deaths where a cause of death is not identified occurred in unsafe sleeping environments. One of the important aspects of our job as death investigators is to share our findings with others with a view to inform and hopefully, help prevent further similar deaths,” says Dr. Huyer.

This event was hosted by the Thunder Bay Infant Response Plan Committee. This committee is comprised of members from various community agencies that support families. The purpose of the committee is to support families to stay together by promoting the safety, growth and development of infants.

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