Sleep-related deaths continue to occur in Northeast Florida, despite national and local campaigns that educate and empower families to follow safe sleep practices. As a result, the Coalition will relaunch the Northeast Florida Safe Sleep Partnership in October 2016 to bring together local agencies and community members to develop strategies and initiatives.
The Coalition recently surveyed more than 600 parents in the region on why they bedshare. The results were discussed at a community meeting in August, and several key messages and strategies were developed by attendees. These will be incorporated into a safe sleep marketing campaign to be implemented in October 2016 with funding from the March of Dimes Florida Chapter.
The momentum of the survey and community meeting will be continued with quarterly Safe Sleep Partnership meeting that will be begin at a date in late October to be announced soon.
In 2015, 18 percent of all infant deaths in Northeast Florida were sleep-related, up from 16.8 percent in 2014 (according to provisional data from the Florida Department of Health). Statewide, sleep-related deaths accounted for 15.9 percent of infant deaths in Florida in 2014 and 14.8 percent in 2015.
Bedsharing is a leading factor identified in sleep-related deaths — in 2015, bedsharing was found in 58 percent of sleep-related deaths by the medical examiner.
The majority of sleep-related deaths can be prevented by following safe sleep practices like:
- Putting baby to sleep alone in his or her own sleep surface (a crib, bassinet or pack and play).
- Placing baby to sleep on his or her back.
- Avoiding bedsharing and napping with baby on a couch or chair, especially if on pain medication, drugs or alcohol.
- Keeping items like stuffed animals, blankets and pillows away from baby while sleeping to avoid suffocation.