Acadian Ambulance Service has joined the Southwest Louisiana Safe Sleep Task Force, a public safety initiative on sharing the importance of infant safe sleep education around our community. 

Joining local law enforcement agencies and other community partners on the task force, all southwest Louisiana paramedics and emergency medical technicians have completed a one-hour training course on the dangers of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and unsafe sleeping practices taught by the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office

Successful completion of this training course provides the education necessary for first responders to recognize potentially dangerous situations in an attempt to reduce preventable infant deaths in southwest Louisiana.

The task force works to educate parents, professionals and caregivers on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Safe Sleep Guidelines and improve knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the risk of unsafe sleep environments.

AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

  • Sharing a bedroom, but not the same sleeping surface, with parents preferably until the baby turns one, or at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. Bed-sharing is not recommended for any babies. 
  • Placing the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoiding the use of soft bedding, crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Swaddling your baby. Make sure that the baby is always on his or her back when swaddled. The swaddle should not be too tight or make it hard for the baby to breathe or move his or her hips. When your baby looks like he or she is trying to roll over, stop swaddling.
  • Never placing your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair.
  • Moving your baby to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible if they fall asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier or sling.
  • Offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. This helps reduce the risk of SIDS, even if it falls out after the baby is asleep. 
  • Avoiding baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • Avoiding use of home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, even if they are marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Practicing supervised, awake tummy time. It is recommended daily to facilitate development.

“We are passionate about infant safety and health and are committed to spreading this important message,” says Heather Savoy, Acadian Ambulance paramedic field supervisor and task force member. “Our medics are trained as first responders to recognize unsafe sleep environments and take immediate action to ensure the safety of the infant and potentially prevent a tragedy. Our goal is to eliminate all preventable deaths in Southwest Louisiana.”

The task force, through community partnerships, provides educational classes and materials to new and expecting parents and caregivers, as well as continuing education credits for professionals. The task force also partners with the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office to promote the Cribs for Kids® Program, which provides portable Pack and Play cribs for families who cannot afford a safe sleep environment for their infant.