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Rise in Infant Suffocations Tied to Bed-Sharing

by The Kid's Doctor Staff
 

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Rates in the United States of sudden infant death from suffocation or strangulation have quadrupled in the past 20 years, most apparently from parents sleeping with their babies, a new government study found.

The trend is clear, despite successful campaigns to prevent SIDS by putting babies to sleep on their backs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in Pediatrics. Black male babies are the most affected, but it is not clear why.

“Infant mortality rates attributable to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed have quadrupled since 1984,” the CDC’s Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza and colleagues wrote. “Prevention efforts should target those at highest risk and focus on helping parents and caregivers provide safer sleeping environments.”

Researchers looked at data from 1984 to 2004. It showed that sudden, unexpected infant deaths fell over the 20-year period. Rates of strangulation or suffocation, however, rose by 14 percent between 1996 and 2004.

Evidence shows that babies should be laid to sleep alone, on a flat mattress, with no loose pillows or blankets and in a crib with bars designed to prevent entrapment.

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