New law aims to end SIDS deaths in daycare

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law requiring child care workers who care for newborns and infants to learn more about SIDS.

It's an effort to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Illinois daycares, but many hope the new law will also educate parents at home.

"Parents often feel that doesn't apply to me, only when they're at the daycare center," said licensed daycare provider Lois Malone. "Whenever it becomes law I think it makes them more aware of the risk and more willing to learn about it and change what they do at home."

No baby has ever died on Malone's watch, but SIDS has still affected her.

"Just a few months ago, we had a baby that was enrolled here - we haven't gotten an official report yet but from everything initially the baby did die at home over the weekend and it was from SIDS," Malone said. "It's extremely heartbreaking."

SIDS and SUID are problems that Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Joe Marks has seen more than he'd like.

"We've had five deaths in the last couple of years here in Jefferson County," Marks said.

Marks says in most of the SIDS cases he's investigated, the baby died while sleeping next to a parent. but he says it can happen even if they're alone in a crib with blankets, stuffed animals, or bumper guards, or even if they sleep on their stomach.

"An infant's airway is just so tiny," Marks said. "It's as small as soda straw and a head tilt can cut off an infant's airway so quickly. It can be fatal."

Brendan Maruyama would have been 26 years old last month, but SIDS claimed his life at daycare when he was just four months old.

His mother, Nancy Maruyama has since taken up the fight to keep other babies from the same tragic end. She worked hard to get the new law passed.

"In my case the information on safe sleep methods wasn't available," Maruyama said. "We want to make sure everyone knows the best way to put baby to sleep to decrease the chance of unexplained infant deaths."

The new law will require daycare providers who care for newborns and infants to train every three years on the dangers of SIDS.

To protect your baby at home, Marks says follow the ABC's of safe sleeping:

Alone: make sure your baby has no toys, stuffed animals, pets, siblings, bumper guards or bedding in the crib.

Back: always put your baby on its back to sleep.

Crib: always put your baby to sleep in a crib. Never sleep with your newborn or infant.

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