Sleep-related deaths remain a leading cause of postneonatal infant deaths in the United States. October is National SIDS Awareness month, a national effort to bring attention to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUIDs) and how to prevent them.
While the rate of sleep-related deaths dipped in 2011 in Northeast Florida, it increased in 2012 along with the overall infant mortality rate. With the exception of 2011, the regional rate has remained above the state rate.
There were 21 SUIDs deaths in Northeast Florida in 2012: three in Clay County, 17 in Duval County and one in St. Johns County. The regional rate increased to 1.2 sleep-related deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to .9 deaths per 1,000 live births for the state.
SUIDs account for 16.5 percent of all infant deaths in the region, compared to 15.4 percent in Florida.
These rates can be significantly reduced with education and awareness campaigns. The national Back to Sleep campaign is now the Safe to Sleep campaign, focusing on not only placing the baby on his or her back, but ensuring an overall safe sleeping environment for infants. In Florida, legislation went into effect July 1 to ensure all parents receive safe sleep education before leaving the hospital or birthing center with their newborn.
More information is available on the Coalition’s Safe Sleep site.