Department offers tips on safe sleep, breastfeeding for families displaced by floods

Baton Rouge, La. – As families affected by recent floods continue to evacuate their homes, the Louisiana Department of Health offers advice for finding a safe place for babies to sleep.

Displaced parents with babies 1 year old or younger may not have been able to evacuate with a standard or portable crib, and the home or shelter where they are staying may not have one available. It is extremely important to provide infants a safe container for sleeping.

Flat surface: No matter what the container is, the sleep surface must be flat and firm.

Other containers: If a crib isn't available, a baby up to 2 months old can be placed to sleep in a laundry basket, box, carton, drawer or washtub. Make sure that these alternate containers are placed on the floor, and keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the container. No pillows, stuffed toys, or blankets should be placed into the container with the baby.

Not safe: Babies should never sleep on an air mattress, waterbed, sofa, futon, or pillow.

Breastfeeding babies during an emergency helps protect them from contaminated water supplies and from diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory diseases. Here are some useful tips for breastfeeding moms.

March of Dimes offers additional resources to help people care for their families in a disaster here. For emergency updates from LDH, visit

Additional resources are available from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness here.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.