MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a new parent's worst nightmare.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths per year in the U.S. often due to SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
For SIDS Awareness Month, we're taking a closer look at what steps parents can take.
SIDS cases have decreased nationwide, thanks to the efforts of the National Institute of Health's 'Safe to Sleep' campaign, though accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed cases was increasing. According to the Institute, 'several recent studies suggest that much of the decrease in SIDS rates since 1999 might be explained by changes in the classification of cause of death. Some deaths that were once classified as SIDS were now being classified as other causes of death, such as accidental suffocation or other ill-defined and unspecified causes.'
Linette Heimbuch and her staff with Sunbeam Preschool follow protocol when it comes to nap time.
"We always lay the baby on their back to start with, and there's no extra toys or blankets in the crib with the child. There is a worker within a few feet of the child as they're sleeping so they can monitor them while they're sleeping."
She shares some advice on how to prevent your child from tragedy.
"Make sure that you start the child out by laying them on their back. Many children once they become old enough will roll over on their own and that's fine. They will do that."
Heimbuch also recommends keeping as few items like blankets and toys with infants as possible, and to not have swings or car seats as their primary sleeping areas.
Sunbeam will soon be monitoring oxygen levels and sleep patterns through the Owlet Smart Sock.