Child Safety

Babies Are Still Dying From Unsafe Sleep Environments

Some of our most vulnerable are still dying because the adults in their lives either do not understand or fail to follow longstanding recommendations for safe sleep practices and safer sleeping environments.

CDC claims at least 250 children died in 3 years from irresponsible sleep practices.
What’s wrong with is picture? A lot, say safe sleep advocates. The soft, fluffy blanket and the large stuffed animal both pose a serious suffocation risk.

In a new study published this morning at the website for the journal Pediatrics, researchers explained that they gleaned data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Case Registry database. Looking at the years 2011 through 2014 they discovered more than 1800 babies died before their first birthday. At least 250 of those children died of suffocation in what safety advocates characterized as “unsafe sleep” situations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has, for years, recommended that babies sleep alone, in a safe crib or bassinet, on their backs, and with no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or other soft items.

But parents are not following those recommendations, researchers discovered. (While daycare deaths do happen, most sleep suffocation incidents actually occur in the infants’ own homes.) Soft bedding was blamed for the largest number of deaths but suffocation caused by an adult rolling over onto the baby was also common.

In all cases, non-supine sleeping and sleeping in an adult’s bed were frequent factors.

In the past two decades the number of sleep deaths in newborns has remained fairly steady. But better diagnostics means that more of those deaths are being classified as suffocations.