Most unexpected infant deaths due to unsafe bedding, CDC study shows

Vast majority of SUID cases due to unsafe sleep environment, while just 1% are truly inexplicable, new CDC study shows.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Baby sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment (illustrative)
Baby sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment (illustrative)
Flash 90

The majority of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) occur due to unsafe bedding, a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found.

The study, published Tuesday in Pediatrics, analyzed data from 4,929 cases of SUID between the years 2011-2017. It showed that blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, and sleeping in a place other than a crib were associated with 72% of SUID events, NBC News reported.

SUID includes SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) as well as other unexpected causes of infant death, such as accidental suffocation during sleep. In the study, just 1% of infant deaths were confirmed as unexplained; in the remaining 27%, information was insufficient to determine whether the death was preventable.

According to CDC, up to 3,500 babies in the US die every year due to SUID. Among ethnicities, American Indians and Alaskan Natives have the highest rates of SUID, followed by African Americans, NBC News added, quoting study author Sharyn Parks, who added, "We definitely want to figure out ways to better reach those populations and provide support."

Parks, a senior epidemiologist at the CDC's Division of Reproductive Health, said, "We're also talking about infants being placed on surfaces other than a bassinet or crib — a couch, a recliner or an adult bed. We're seeing babies who are dying in all of those circumstances."

CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that infants sleep on their backs on firm, flat surfaces, with no soft bedding, toys, bumpers, or padding near them. Infants should also sleep in the parents' room for at least the first six months of life, and preferably for the first year.

Breastfeeding and pacifier use reduce the risk of SIDS, while smoking increases the risk.