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Every parent wants to take the best care possible of his or her baby. Moms and dads research everything from the safest carseat to the healthiest and most supplemental foods and formulas. But some parents are unknowingly putting their babies at risk, every night and every nap.

Each year, about 4,000 infants die unexpectedly nationwide during sleep from unknown causes, and conditions that can be linked to unsafe sleep environments including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (ASSB).
Last year, four Mesa County infants died as the result of an unsafe sleep environment. 
Where and how you place your baby to sleep could be a life-saving decision. Follow these guidelines:
• Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, even during naps.
• Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
• Safety-approved portable play yards can also provide a safe sleep environment for your baby. 
• Keep soft objects, toys, pillows, crib bumpers and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. These items can limit a baby’s breathing and cause ASSB, which is responsible for 75 percent of all unintentional injuries in babies. 
• Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Co-sleeping is not safe, whether in an adult bed, on a couch or in a chair. Try room sharing – keep baby’s sleep area in the same room, next to where you sleep.
• Dress your baby in no more than one more layer of clothing an adult would wear to be comfortable and leave the blanket out of the crib. Keep the room at a temperature comfortable for an adult.
Be sure to follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of SIDS and ASSB.
For more tips, visit www.healthymesacounty.org.