Sudden unexpected infant deaths due to unsafe sleep are a leading cause of preventable death under the age of 1 year. While back-to-sleep campaigns promoting safe sleep for infants have helped to reduce deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) over the last two decades, the numbers of sleep-related deaths from causes such as suffocation have continued to rise. This final blog post for our National Safety Month series looks back at a 2011 NPCH Report about infants at risk in unsafe sleep settings.
In a 2011 NPCH Report, 17% parents said placing an infant facedown is a safe sleep position. 70% of parents reported falling asleep with their infants – some intentionally, but most unintentionally – and 40% of parents said it is safe for an infant to sleep in an adult bed with another person. Each of these sleep positions is deemed to be a potential risk factor for sudden unexpected infant death.
The CDC offers a list of preventive measures parents can take to help reduce the risk of sudden infant deaths, including always placing babies on their backs to sleep and using a firm sleep surface with a fitted sheet. They also recommend parents keep soft objects (such as pillows, baby bumpers, plush blankets, and soft toys) out of the baby’s sleep area, as they may cause unintentional infant suffocation.