Upstate parents talk about importance of safe sleep for infants

How you put your baby to bed is extremely important because unsafe sleeping is the leading cause of death for children under the age of one
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 9:43 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Each year, South Carolina loses 80 babies that didn’t have to die.

Safe Sleep Awareness Month reminds parents that how you put your baby to bed is extremely important.

In the last year, 29 babies from the Upstate have died from unsafe sleep complications.

Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson Counties have the highest number in the state. Most of those deaths could have been prevented.

This hits home for an Upstate mom whose infant daughter accidentally suffocated.

“My mission is to first of all make sure nobody forgets her, but also to educate parents,” Kathryn Martin said.

Martin dropped her daughter off at daycare on a chilly February morning. She had no idea that would be the last time she saw her baby alive.

“No one should have to go through this and live life the way we do. I’ll never get my daughter back,” Martin said.

The coroner found Kellie Rynn in a bassinet with blankets and stuffed animals surrounding her. She was just three months old.

“It’s been eight and a half years since Kellie Rynn was killed in her childcare center. It was just pure neglect, and for me, my life has never been the same.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should only sleep on a flat surface without blankets, toys, or pillows.

“We really want to advocate making sure that your baby is going to sleep alone with nothing in their crib. They should always on their back, and on a firm sleep surface,” Coordinator Bridgette Watson, with Safe Kids Upstate said.

The AAP also warns against co-sleeping. Parents should be in the room until six months, but not the same bed.

“The biggest thing that we’re seeing in our state is just trying to advocate for room sharing versus bed sharing. We’re just seeing a really big increase in babies sharing the same sleep space as the parent, caregiver or even another child,” Watson said.

The AAP said parents should not use sitting devices like carseats, strollers, swings, and infant carriers for routine sleep.

Parents should also know there is no device that reduces the risk of sleep-related deaths. Several products on the market claim to monitor your baby’s heart rate, but this can provide a fake sense of security.

Parents should also know the risks of using products that claim to monitor your baby’s heart rate.

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