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Health unit launches ‘tummy time’ campaign

The Northwestern Health Unit is launching a new campaign to help raise awareness among parents and caregivers about the importance of tummy time for babies during play, as well as the importance of placing babies on their backs for sleep.

Since 1999, the Canadian Pediatric Society has recommended placing babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“Babies should always sleep on their backs, both at night time and during nap time,” stressed public health nurse Twyla Bérubé.

The time babies spend on their backs during sleep, along with the time they spend in car seats, carriers, and swings, adds up to a lot of time on their backs.

As a result, it is important that parents and caregivers provide baby with “tummy time” during play while baby is awake and supervised.

Providing tummy time during play helps with baby’s healthy muscle development and prevents flattening on the back of baby’s head.

“It is important for parents to know that some babies might not enjoy tummy time at first,” noted Bérubé.

“To help baby learn to like tummy time, parents are encouraged to place baby on their tummy for short amounts of time, to talk and sing to baby, and to comfort and soothe baby if he or she cries,” she added.

For more tips and suggestions on how to make tummy time enjoyable for your baby, contact the “Healthy Babies, Healthy Children” program at 1-800-465-4377 or your local Northwestern Health Unit office.

Pamphlets promoting “Tummy Time for Play, Back Time for Sleep” are available at Northwestern Health Unit offices, physician offices, and Best Start Hubs throughout the Kenora and Rainy River districts.

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