REMSA, Washoe County Social Services reminds families to create safe sleep environment for children
Four infant fatalities in six-week period.

Reno, Nevada. Jan. 21, 2016. In a six-week period between Oct. 23 to Dec. 8, 2015, there were four fatalities of infants in Washoe County due to unsafe sleep environments. This alarming trend in infant deaths is compacted due to the fact it is preventable by creating safe sleeping environments for children.

By creating a safe sleep environment for an infant, you can also lower the incidents of sleep - related deaths and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  The greatest numbers of child deaths due to unsafe sleep situations occur among infants less than one year of age. Unsafe sleeping environments are created due to excessive bedding, wedging, or adults or children sharing a bed with infants, which can result in rolling over or onto the baby and causing suffocation (overlay).   

To help combat this alarming trend, Cribs for Kids, a program of REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority), as well as Washoe County Social Services, have been educating community-based organizations and other health care agencies throughout Nevada to unify the message on infant safe sleep practices. Washoe County Department of Social Services Director Amber Howell informs fatalities due to co-sleeping are 100 percent preventable with adequate and appropriate safe sleep environments.  We are committed to providing education, resources, and support to increase safe sleep for infants within our community and Social Services is committed to this initiative.

The following are guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help infants safely sleep:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

  • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).


For more information or media inquiries contact the following:

Scott Walquist, KPS3, 775-686-2116, or Washoe County Children's Services Division Director Jeanne Marsh at 775-337-4430 or


REMSA is a private non-profit emergency medical services system serving northern Nevada. REMSA’s state-of-the-art medical communications center is fully accredited, as are all emergency medical transport services of the company. REMSA provides quality patient care with no taxpayer support or other subsidies.


Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »