sleep conditions are one of the leading causes of deaths for infants in the
state of Oregon. An infant is considered a child between birth and age one.
Many of these infants and/or their families have had some contact with the
Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Program. The majority of these
deaths are due to asphyxiation, as a result of a hazardous sleep environment.
The department is working proactively to improve casework practice standards in
an effort to effect positive change.
of the primary unsafe sleeping conditions is bed sharing. This refers to an
infant and one or more adults or children sleeping together on any surface, not
necessarily a bed. This could be sharing a surface such as a couch, a chair, or
a futon. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the safest place for
an infant to sleep is alone in their own crib with a firm mattress, a tightly
fitted sheet, on their back, and in a smoke-free environment.
Education and Training
Protective Service workers will receive in-person training through branch unit
meetings. This will be provided in collaboration with contracted local nurses,
CPS supervisors, and child safety consultants. The training will consist of
Child Welfare Safe Sleep procedures and best practice standards. Additionally,
the Child Safety Program is currently researching the possibility of
incorporating the use of Safe Sleep Coaches to work with local branches on
cases that involve concerns with infant sleeping environments.
Welfare will also increase efforts to partner with the community to provide
families with appropriate education surrounding safe and unsafe sleep. These
partners may include contracted Addiction Recovery Team providers, contracted
nurses, Oregon Health Authority, local hospitals, Women Infants and Children
Program (WIC), Healthy Start, Early Head Start and other community home