It’s a startling fact, but one that parents, family members and caregivers need to be aware of: Nearly 3,600 babies die each year in the U.S. due to sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), defined as the death of an infant under 1 year old that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. Forms of sudden unexpected infant death include suffocation, entrapment, infection, metabolic diseases, heart issues, accidental and nonaccidental trauma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the unexplained sudden death of an infant under age 1 which remains unexplained even after an investigation.
What you can do to help prevent SUID and SIDS
Always using safe sleep practices with babies is key to the prevention of sudden unexpected infant death. The current recommendation for safe sleep for infants is the “ABC” method:
- On the baby’s back
- In a safe crib
“A baby who sleeps on his or her back alone in a safe crib or bassinet, in an appropriately controlled room temperature of 68 to 75 degrees, in the same room with the parents, is highly unlikely to die a sleep-related death,” said Erika Janes, R.N., coordinator with Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.
Sadly, Kentucky is one of the top 10 states for sudden unexplained infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A major factor in that frightening statistic is exposure to smoking.
Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness
“We’ve known for a long time that exposure to smoking, especially while a mother is pregnant, is a large contributing factor for SIDS,” Janes said. “We can prevent a lot of deaths if we create safer sleeping conditions and keep children away from smoke.”
Reduce the risk for SUID and SIDS
Eliminate unsafe sleeping conditions for your baby:
- Do not allow your baby to sleep with other children or adults either in bed or on a sofa or chair.
- Place your baby to sleep on his or her back — never on his or her stomach.
- Do not use blankets or comforters in the crib with your baby.
- Do not place pillows in the crib with your baby or put your baby to sleep on a pillow.
- Do not put soft objects, toys or loose bedding in your baby’s sleep area.
- Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
- Do not smoke in your home.