Every Two Hours an Infant Dies Due to Unsafe Sleep.
Every single year, infant sleep-related death kills more under-18-year-old American kids than guns, car accidents, suicides, or drug overdoses.
The tragedy of infants dying in their sleep is often handled as a quiet, personal and private suffering. But, it is a public health crisis.
Why are Babies Dying?
When we talk about safe sleep to prevent infant death we are talking about SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death), which is defined as the death of an infant that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious prior to investigation.
This category includes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Unknown Causes and Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB).
Why is this distinction important? Because SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the unexpected death of an infant under 1 year of age, that no cause of death could be determined after a thorough investigation, including death scene, autopsy and medical history.
When we look at the overall picture, we can see that although SIDS rates have dropped, the overall death rates in the SUID category have remained stagnant. This is due to better death scene investigations and a more consistent handling and coding of these deaths.
This explains why ASSB (Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed) deaths are on the rise. As investigations and coding improves the SIDS category drops and we can improve our knowledge on how to stop these largely preventable deaths.
ASSB deaths include: suffocation by soft bedding, such as when a pillow or waterbed mattress covers an infant’s nose and mouth. ASSB also includes overlay, when another person rolls on top of or against the infant while sleeping. As well as, wedging or entrapment, when an infant is wedged between two objects such as a mattress and wall, bed frame, or furniture. And finally, ASSB includes strangulation, when an infant’s head and neck become caught between crib railings.
These Deaths are Largely Preventable.
Analysis of the CDC data indicates that only 1% of SUID deaths occur with a baby on their back, on a flat sleep surface in a crib or bassinet, with no unsafe sleep factors.