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SAFE SLEEP: Substance abuse and your baby’s safety

Posted in:DadsMomsSafe SleepYour Growing Child


You may think drugs are something you will never struggle with, but addiction has no boundaries. According to the CDC, opioid addiction is on the rise. Opioids are often given as a prescription pain killer, but they are very addictive, especially when taken for long periods of time.  Long-term treatment with opioids may increase the risk of substance abuse, addiction, overdose and death. If you have a baby at home, they may be at risk.  Substances can alter your sleep and performance.

So, what can you do to keep your baby safe?

Follow the rules of safe sleep
1. Firstly, your baby should always have a safe person watching over them. If you are struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to make sure you have a trustworthy guardian to watch over you and your baby.

2. Your baby should always sleep alone. Don’t fall asleep with your baby in your arms or in the bed with you. If you think you might fall asleep, you or another guardian must put the baby to rest in his or her crib beforehand.

3. Babies should sleep on their backs in a crib. This allows for the proper airflow through the baby’s lungs. Again, if you feel out of control it is best to have a guardian make sure your baby can sleep safely.

4. Your baby should sleep in an empty crib. The crib should only have a bed with a fitted sheet, that’s it. This allows the baby breathing room without any extra items to increase the risk of suffocation.

5. Lastly but never least, babies should always sleep in a smoke-free environment. If you or anyone that lives with you smokes, make sure any smoking is taking place outdoors and away from the baby’s sleep area.

Fighting addiction and substance abuse
Dealing with an addiction is never easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Peers are so important to recovery. Now is the time to look to anyone who has been in your shoes and ask them for help. They can be your support system as well as your guidance.

Learn more about our Safe Sleep program, and find out how you can make recovery possible.

© 2023. Delaware Division of Public Health.