How Social Media Can Save Babies’ Lives

This post was provided by First Candle, one of the sponsors of our 2018 Annual Conference.

As the saying goes, “a picture speaks a thousand words.” Every image is powerful and can influence millions of consumers. We’ve all seen (and probably taken some of our own) the adorable photos of babies sleeping in cute poses that get thousands of likes and shares. And the pictures of gorgeous nurseries with beautiful layettes are all over social media not to mention featured on Pottery Barn Kids and other retailer’s sites. Unfortunately, these images are often depicting babies in situations that are risking their lives in unsafe sleep situations such as asleep on their stomach, on a pillow, with a stuffed animal or a blanket. These unsafe sleep environments are the leading cause of sleep-related infant deaths.

Every year over 3,500 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths including accidental suffocation. Many of these can be prevented simply by following the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These include:

Back to sleep for every sleep.
Babies should be placed on their back for every sleep by every caregiver. Side sleeping is not safe.

Use a firm sleep surface.
Babies should be placed on a firm, flat sleep surface (e.g., mattress in a safety-approved crib) covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects. Sleeping on couches and armchairs place babies at extraordinarily high risk of infant death through entrapment or wedging between seat cushions or overlay if the caregiver falls asleep.

Nothing else should be in the crib.
Pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins and fluffy bumpers can obstruct an infant’s nose and mouth. An obstructed airway can pose a risk of suffocation, entrapment, or SIDS.

Room share but don’t bed share.
Sleeping in the parents’ room but on a separate surface decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. This can also prevent suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the baby is sleeping in the parent’s bed.

At First Candle we are committed to educating parents, grandparents and caregivers on the importance of not only adhering to these guidelines but ensuring that every picture that’s posted on social media shows their babies in a safe sleep environment. We need to create a new normal of what a beautiful nursery and cute sleeping baby picture looks like and we need the help of bloggers, photographers, advertisers and even nursery designers. This will only be accomplished by harnessing the power of social media to post safe sleep images whenever possible. To this end, we have created the Safe Sleep Guardian program. We’re calling upon bloggers, photographers and brands to become our ambassadors for safe sleep. We have posted the guidelines for a safe sleep on our site. By becoming one of our ambassadors you can display our Safe Sleep Guardian badge on your blog and we will list you on our site with a link back to your blog.

As the CEO of First Candle, but more importantly as a SIDS mom, I never want another parent to experience the grief of losing a child to sleep-related infant death. Together we can save babies’ lives.


Rachel is an experienced executive specializing in Internet Startups and Growth Mode Companies. Her career has been spent working hands-on with entrepreneurs to build and grow SaaS products and related services. She's a mom of two boys, married to her college sweetheart, and when not in front of her computer, can be found sweating it out on her yoga mat.

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