MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) urges parents and caregivers to learn about the risk factors that lead to the sudden deaths of infants, especially during October, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Safe Sleep Awareness Month.
Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 otherwise healthy babies die suddenly and unexpectedly. The causes of these infant deaths are not immediately obvious following a complete investigation. Most of these infant deaths are full-term normal birth weight infants, according to the ADPH Center for Health Statistics. In 2018, 70 Alabama infants died from Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID).
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 1,400 infant deaths from SIDS, the leading cause of death for babies 1 month to 1 year of age. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 50-60% of SIDS and SUID cases are from co-sleeping, unsafe sleeping, or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
Parents and caregivers are reminded to follow key steps to reduce infant deaths from unsafe sleep-related causes. The ABCs to remember are as follows:
- Alone – always place baby in his or her own sleep space (room sharing without bed sharing)
- Back – always place baby to sleep on his or her back (naptime and nighttime), not on side or stomach
- Crib – always place baby to sleep in a crib with a firm surface, free of bumper pads, pillows, toys, heavy blanket or other people
ADPH is the lead agency promoting the National Institutes of Health’s #SafeSleepSnap Photo Event for SIDS Awareness Month in October. This event is to help promote SIDS Awareness Month and promote safe sleep practices and safe sleep environments for infants. Parents are encouraged to post pictures of their babies sleeping on their backs in safe sleep environment on their social media accounts with #SafeSleepSnap.