Main Page
This Issue
Next Article

Family and Children's
Resource Program

Vol. 23, No. 2
June 2018

Strengthening the Promotion of Safe Sleep

A review of child fatalities in North Carolina in 2015-16 by the NC Division of Social Services Child Fatality Review Team showed that 31% involved unsafe sleep. The vast majority occurred when a child was co-sleeping with a caregiver in a bed or on a sofa. Often caregivers had a safe sleep option, but did not use it.

To help prevent deaths from unsafe sleep, the NC Division of Social Services urges child welfare workers to:

  • Explictly describe to caregivers of infants and very young children the fatal risks of unsafe sleep conditions; be sure to discuss the risks of suffocation.
  • Talk with families about the specifics of what to do and what not to do regarding infant sleep environments.
  • Pay attention to indicators an infant could possibly be at increased risk of unsafe sleep. These include:
    • Multiple families temporarily sharing living space
    • Lack of beds for all children
    • Children born testing positive for drugs
    • Transient families
    • Parent has untreated mental health conditions

To learn more on this topic, NC county child welfare professionals should attend the webinar "Child Welfare Practice and Safe Sleep" on June 27, 2018. Register on by June 20. If you miss it, soon after the event you will find a recording here: