Why are more babies suffocating to death?
The number of babies dying of suffocation before their first birthday in the U.S. is on the rise.
According to a recent study in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) Pediatrics, in 2015 alone, over 1,000 babies’ deaths were preventable. Of all unintentional injuries to babies age one or younger, 87 percent were unintentional suffocations.
So why are more babies suffocating?
- Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Share a bedroom with baby, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until he or she turns 1, but at least for the first six months. Room sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
“Parents should take safe sleep guidelines seriously,” says Dr. Shrinal Vyas, a pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “While it is tempting to have your baby sleep in your own bed, especially for the convenience of feeding, it is very dangerous. You could fall asleep and accidentally harm your baby. We know babies are safest when sleeping in their own space, and we can prevent so many unnecessary deaths if families follow these safety measures.”
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!