PMC observes Baby Safety Awareness Month

Melinda Goodson

A parent's number one priority should always be the safety of their children. Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) is observing September as Baby Safety Awareness Month and we want to share ways to keep your baby safe.


"Baby safety is such a broad topic," said PMC Pediatrician Brad Akers, M.D. "Among the top of the list for babies would be how to prevent the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and car seat safety."


We'll begin with discussing SIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted. SIDs is the leading cause of death among newborns to 12 months of age.


"It's essential to ensure you minimize a baby's risk of SIDS," added Dr. Akers. "Always place the baby on their back to sleep while on a firm surface with nothing that can obstruct its mouth and nose. Never place the baby in the bed with you, and have the baby's bassinet beside your bed for the first six months of life."


The CDC lists ways for parents and caretakers to reduce the risk of SIDS:


• Being sure babies sleep on their backs on a firm surface; babies should not sleep on their stomachs


• Abstaining from smoking, drinking or using drugs during pregnancy and after birth


• Avoid putting quilts, comforters, sheepskin or any soft material in the crib or on the sleeping surface; infants should not sleep on waterbeds, sofas or other soft surfaces


• Using a crib that conforms to the safety standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


• Not allowing babies to get too warm; the temperature in the baby's room should feel comfortable for an adult


• Breastfeeding the baby as long as possible


Car seat safety should also be a major priority for parents and caretakers. The CDC states that children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age two or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat's owner's manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.


"To prevent injury, always ensure your baby is riding in the appropriate car seat and in the appropriate position for his or her age," Dr. Akers advised.


Dr. Akers also suggests discussing any concerns with your baby's pediatrician as a good way to keep your baby safe and give you a peace of mind.


"The best way to ensure you are minimizing risk to your baby is to sit down and discuss safety tips with your pediatrician," he said. "Often, we are able to shed light on a potential causes of injury that parents have not considered."


For more information on baby safety or to schedule an appointment with a PMC pediatrician, call 606-218-2207 or visit us on the web at