Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed October as Safe Sleep Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,500 sleep-related deaths occur among U.S. babies each year. The CDC vital signs website, however, indicates there was a sharp decline in the 1990s with the “Back to Sleep” campaign during which parents were told to place their infants on their backs, not their tummies or sides, to sleep. However, the trend has changed, and too many babies are lost to sleep-related deaths, some of which could be prevented.
To promote safe sleep during the month of October, South Carolina's first virtual Safe Sleep Summit was launched to coordinate and consolidate information and resources, so that we can ensure we have the greatest enduring impact and the best outcomes. During the first Safe Sleep Summit meeting on October 5, 2021, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette presented Governor McMaster's proclamation and shared her observations and support for safe sleep. State Child Advocate and Department of Children's Advocacy Director Amanda Whittle shared, "The unfathomable grief of losing a child has compelled all of us toward a campaign to promote safe sleep. It is essential to over-communicate a clear and consistent message regarding safe sleep. Research and child fatality re-enactments support the ABCs of safe sleep. Babies should be placed Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib."
We are thankful for our Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s support regarding Safe Sleep Awareness Month in South Carolina. We also appreciate the collaboration among the Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, Upstate AHEC, Department of Social Services, and Department of Children’s Advocacy to raise awareness regarding safe sleep. They have used their voices to inform, educate and prevent sleep-related child deaths.