In 2019, of the 29 child fatalities reviewed by the CIRT, 17 were infants. Roughly 82 percent of the cases involving infants had high risk sleep practices present. Too many of Oregon's infants die in preventable sleep related deaths.
Educating and engaging infant's parents and caregivers effectively requires a community response. As a critical part of the child safety community, Child Welfare professionals have a role in supporting families to reduce risk of sleep related death through education and engaging families in conversations about their experiences and opinions related to sleep practices. To effectively have these conversations, Child Welfare professionals need to be educated on safe sleep practices and have the necessary resources available to them.
Education and Training
Self-study trainings tailored to a Child Welfare professional's role, opportunities to practice having safe sleep conversations with families alongside community partners, and access to tangible resources are all a part of the plan to prepare Child Welfare professionals to support families in safely caring for infants. Child Welfare is collaborating with other state agencies and community partners to ensure consistency in messaging received by families.
Training objectives for Child Welfare professionals:
- Explore how their own experiences and preferences about sleep interact with the recommendations for safe sleep practices for infants.
- Understand their responsibilities around safe sleep as a Child Welfare professional.
- Understand sleep related risks.
- Understand what actions increase and decrease sleep related risks.
- Understand how to have conversations about safe sleep practices with parents and caregivers.
Safe Sleep Resources
Image courtesy of the National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ).