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  • Writer's pictureSGFIRSTAID

Four-Month-Old Baby Dies from Positional Asphyxia- A Wake-Up Call for Safe Sleep Practices

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

The news of the tragic death of four-month-old baby Nur Ailynn Imani Othman in Singapore is heartbreaking.

The baby, who was sleeping beside her mother, fell into a recess between the bed and the wall, which caused her to become trapped in a head-down position for an extended period of time. This resulted in hypoxia and eventually led to her untimely death. State Coroner Adam Nakhoda ruled Ailynn’s death a misadventure.

Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time. Losing a child is an unimaginable pain that no parent should ever have to go through.

This unfortunate incident is a reminder to all parents and caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices for infants.

To prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, here are some first aid tips and related awareness:

  1. Always place infants on a firm, flat, non-inclined sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib with a tight-fitting mattress, covered with a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects. This ensures that the surface maintains its shape and does not conform to the shape of the infant’s head, reducing the risk of suffocation.

  2. Avoid placing infants on soft bedding, such as pillows and blankets, which can increase the risk of suffocation.

  3. Ensure there are no gaps between the mattress and the wall of the bassinet, playpen, portable crib, play yard, or bedside sleeper. These gaps can trap the baby and increase the risk of positional asphyxia.

  4. When infants are less than a year old, parents should avoid allowing them to sleep in a prone position. Sleeping in a supine or face-up position is safest, for both night sleep and naps.

  5. Infants could be brought to a bed for activities such as breastfeeding, but they should be placed back in the cot for naps and sleep.

  6. Avoid co-sleeping with infants. Sleeping in the same room as the parents for the first year or at least six months is recommended. This helps parents keep an eye on their baby without increasing the risk of suffocation from adult-sized pillows and blankets and overlaying - when the sleeping parent turns over and lies over the infant.

  7. Couches and armchairs are extremely dangerous places for an infant and should never be used for infant sleep.

By following these safe sleep practices, parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of positional asphyxia and ensure the safety of their infants during sleep.

It is crucial to raise awareness about safe sleep practices for infants to prevent such tragic incidents from happening in the future. Let us all come together and spread the word to ensure the safety of our little ones.


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