Too many babies in U.S. dying from SIDS, says CDC


Too many babies in U.S. dying from SIDS, says CDC

An alarming report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is raising concerns of too many babies in the U.S. are still dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  During the 1990s, there were sharp declines in SIDS thanks to a national safety campaign called “Back to Sleep.” Parents were educated on safe methods to use when putting a baby in their crib for a nap or at bedtime.  However, data from a Vital Signs Reports from the CDC finds SIDS risk for babies persists despite the ongoing Safe Infant Sleep campaign by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

What is SIDS?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep, which is why it's sometimes still called "crib” death as they are often found dead in their crib. SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.  Each year 3,500 sleep-related deaths occur among U.S. babies. 

There is also now another acronym of SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) that has been circulating in the last several years.  SUIDS is a broad term used to encompass all sudden infant deaths.  This would include SIDS, accidental deaths such as suffocation and strangulation, sudden natural death such as what is caused by an infection, cardiac or metabolic disorders, and neurological conditions, and homicides. 

To muddy the waters even more, there is a third acronym of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (also SUID) that is sometimes used when a medical examiner cannot tell the difference between SIDS and suffocation. 

What the report showed

The new report from the CDC is warning that too many babies are still placed in unsafe sleep environments.  Parents of newborn babies are being instructed to place their baby on their back in their crib for nap or bedtime to reduce the incidence of SIDS. 

There were 3,297 mothers who were surveyed of whom three-quarters stated they had intended to place their babies to sleep on their back every time but less than half actually did.

Between 2011 and 2014, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there were 6,683 infant deaths from SIDS. 

About 1 in 5 mothers (21.6 percent) reported placing their baby to sleep on their side or stomach and more than half of mothers (61.4 percent) reported any bed sharing with their baby.  Additionally, 2 in 5 mothers (38.5 percent) reported using any soft bedding in the baby’s sleep area.

What parents need to do to reduce SIDS

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that doctors have conversations with families about their babies sleep habits.  This conversation needs to begin even before a baby is born to help prepare the family on knowing the safest method for laying their baby down to sleep. 

Here are the recommendations from the AAP in keeping all infants safe during their sleep time:

·      Keep soft objects out of a baby’s crib or sleep area.  This includes pillow, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys, and sleep positioners. The crib should be bare.

·      Parents should always place their baby in crib or bassinet but never in their bed.  There is the danger a parent could accidentally roll over onto their baby accidentally suffocating them.

·      It is recommended that newborn babies should sleep in their bassinet or crib in the same room as their parents for at least six months as the risk of SIDS decreases by 50 percent when this is practiced.

·      Always place the baby on their back for all sleep times, naps and at night.

·      Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib using a tight-fitting sheet

·      Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

·      Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

·      Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS

·      Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations

·      Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development