Sleep-Related Infant Deaths Still a Concern

Implementing safe sleep practices could save infants' lives

(RxWiki News) Thousands of sleep-related infant deaths happen each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 3,500 sleep-related infant deaths happen in the United States annually, including deaths related to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation and unknown causes, the CDC reported.

Although there has been a great reduction in sleep-related deaths in recent years, CDC research shows the risk to babies is still present.

The CDC looked at 2015 data about unsafe sleep practices reported by mothers. When placing their infants to sleep, about 1 in 5 surveyed mothers reported placing their infants on their side or stomach. And more than half of mothers reported bed sharing with their infant, while 2 in 5 mothers reported using soft bedding in the infant's sleep area. These are all unsafe infant sleep practices.

The agency also found some differences in sleep practices from state to state and among different ethnic groups.

“Unfortunately, too many babies in this country are lost to sleep-related deaths that might be prevented,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, CDC director, in a press release. “We must do more to ensure every family knows the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations ..."

To help ensure your infant is safe and reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death, the AAP recommends the following safe sleep practices:

  • ALWAYS place your infant on his or her back at night and during nap time.
  • ALWAYS place your infant on a firm sleep surface.
  • NEVER keep soft bedding, such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys, in a baby’s sleep area. In addition, never place blankets, loose sheets or quilts under your infant in the crib.
  • NEVER share a bed with your baby, but sharing the same room is OK.

Speak with your health care provider about how to keep your infant safe.

The CDC published these findings and recommendations in the new issue of Vital Signs.

Last Updated:
January 9, 2018