By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Health is encouraging parents to talk to caregivers about the importance of safe sleep for infants.

According to data by the MDH, “unsafe sleep environments accounts for nearly all unexpected infant deaths in Minnesota.” Annually, about “50 or more Minnesota babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in an unsafe sleep environment.”

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The MDH encourages all parents and other caregivers to know “the ABCs of safe sleep”:

  • ALONE: Infants should always sleep or nap alone.
  • BACK: Always put a baby on their back to sleep or nap.
  • CRIB: Babies should always sleep or nap in their own safety-approved crib or play yard without blankets or pillows.

On Sunday, Gov. Tim Walz declared this week to be “Infant Safe Sleep Week.”  The MDH partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to light the I-35W bridge in several colors.

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“Safe sleep practices are essential for all child care providers, whether they be full time, part time or friends and family just watching a baby for an evening or afternoon,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “We need to give all families and those caring for an infant the education and the supports they need to create a safe sleeping environments, such as a dedicated crib, for infants.”

Parents can watch a video that educates grandparents-to-be and other trusted caregivers about safe infant sleep practices.

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