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Parents & Caregivers

Parents & Caregivers

“There is no such thing as a perfect perfect….so just be a real one!”

Help Me Grow home visitors can provide caring support and reliable information on the topics customized to your needs and interest. Whether it’s how to soothe your crying baby, developing sleep routines, self-care or how to cope with the stresses of parenting, we are by your side to support. While listening to your needs and concerns, we will empower you to make your own decisions about what is best for you and your baby.  We also look forward to being your personal cheerleader, in celebrating milestone successes along the way!

Your pregnancy

During your pregnancy, exciting things happen to you and your developing baby every day. Click here for information and resources about having a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Your Child’s Development

Infants are happier and healthier when they feel safe and connected. Click here for information on healthy social and emotional child development.

Safety-Injury Prevention

Every parent wants to protect their children from harm and to keep them safe. Click here to learn more about the steps you can take to prevent the leading causes of child injury.


Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. It can also reduce the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions for both infants and mothers.


Infant Safe Sleep

Every week in Ohio, 3 babies die in unsafe sleep environments. These deaths don’t have to happen! Learn why it’s safest for baby to follow the ABCs of safe sleep – Alone. Back. Crib. Every baby, every sleep!
Courtesy of the Ohio Department of health: www.SafeSleep.Ohio.gov for more information


Share the room, not the bed! 2 out of 3 babies who died while sleeping were sharing an adult bed, couch or chair.

Parents or caregivers should never nap on a couch or chair while holding their baby. Always make sure your child is placed in a crib or play yard with a firm mattress.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed. Place the baby’s crib or bassinet near your bed (within arm’s reach). This makes it easier to breastfeed and bond with your baby.

There is no proven safe way to share the bed with your child because:

  • You can accidentally roll too close to or onto baby while they sleep.
  • Babies can get trapped between the mattress and the wall, headboard, footboard or other piece of furniture.
  • Your baby could fall from the bed and get hurt or fall into a pile of clothing or other soft items on the floor and suffocate.


There are many myths surrounding babies sleeping on their backs; however, science has proven that back is best for baby. Some commonly asked questions regarding these myths are: 

Isn’t it easier for my baby to choke on her back? 
No! Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffocate or choke. See why babies are less likely to choke while on their backs. 

My baby isn’t comfortable and doesn’t sleep as well on her back. 
Babies do sleep deeper on their stomachs, but it's safer for baby to wake through the night. When babies sleep deeper, they don't arouse or wake up as often. When a baby is in a deep sleep and gets into a situation where she needs to take a deep breath or arouse her airway may be blocked by a blanket or loose bedding or covered in some other way, so she will be at more risk for suffocation. Back sleeping is safest for your baby! 

If I put my baby on her back, she’ll get a flat head. 
For the most part, flat spots on a baby’s head go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up. There are other ways to reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head, such as providing "tummy time" when your baby is awake and someone is watching. "Tummy time" not only helps prevent flat spots, but it also helps a baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger. 

How long should my baby sleep on her back? 
Once your baby can roll from back to belly on their own, it's ok to leave her in the position she finds most comfortable. Remember to put your baby to sleep on her back for the first year. 

Remember these ways to keep baby safest:

  • Don’t cover baby's head with a blanket or over bundle in clothing and blankets.
  • Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing.
  • Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature between 68 to 72 degrees.

More information: National Institutes of Child Health and Development – Frequently Asked Questions for Safe Sleep



An empty crib is best. Many parents believe baby won’t be warm or comfortable without bumper pads, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, but these items can be deadly. Babies can suffocate on or be strangled by any extra item in the crib.

This is how to keep baby safe:

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards.
  • Bumper pads and sleep positioning wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby.
  • Don’t use loose bedding, such as comforters and blankets.
  • Sleep clothing, such as fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are safer for baby than blankets!
  • Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, air mattresses, pillows, or cushions.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals should not be placed in the crib with the baby. These items can suffocate baby if they are close to his face.
  • Place baby's crib in your room - you can respond to his needs and then return him to his crib to sleep.

Won’t my baby hurt herself between the slats of the crib if there are no bumpers? 
There have been no cases of babies who have seriously hurt themselves by getting stuck between the crib railings. Babies aren’t capable of exerting enough force to break an arm or leg between the crib slats. Consider the option of a baby waking up because her hand or foot may be caught. She will cry and wake you, but she will be alive and breathing. 

More information: Consumer Product Safety Commission Crib Safety Standards


Safe Sleep Facts

With all the information being thrown at new moms, it's tough to sort out fact from fiction. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations are based on science and extensive research. The full text of the AAP recommendations is available here. Follow these guidelines to keep your baby safe:

  • 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.
  • Don't use wedges and sleep positioners.
  • Pregnant women 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).

What about swaddling? 
If you choose to swaddle to swaddle your baby when you get home from the hospital, there is a safe way to swaddle! Be sure you stop swaddling your baby by two months of age. Continuing to swaddle after your baby starts to move around more places her at increased risk for suffocation. Learn more about how to swaddle safely. 

More Information: FAQs from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development



Safe Sleep Resources

For Order-Download    
News Release - ABCs of Safe Sleep Campaign Aims to Save Infant Lives     
Infant Safe Sleep Materials Request Form (for the 2 items listed below)    
    ABC's of Safe Infant Safe Sleep brochure (pdf)    
    ODH Safe Sleep Flyer (pdf)    
Other Helpful Downloads    
What Does Safe Sleep Look Like?    
Safe Sleep for Your Baby    
Safe Sleep - African American Outreach    
Safe Sleep for Your Grandbaby

Safe Havens for Newborns


Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention


Understanding Intimate Partner Violence