SIDS deaths continue to be of concern in Oklahoma
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month
OKLAHOMA CITY – October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. Despite significant improvements in reducing infant mortality in Oklahoma in recent years, SIDS-related deaths continue to be the third leading cause of infant deaths in our state. SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than one year of age that does not have a known cause even after a complete investigation.
The top three causes of infant deaths in Oklahoma are congenital malformations, disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, and SIDS. There were approximately 36 deaths in Oklahoma due to SIDS in 2019 and 1,250 nationwide.
Although the safest place for babies to sleep is their own crib, data from the Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) shows that in 2016-2019 approximately 30 percent of Oklahoma babies were sleeping in adult beds.
“We want all parents of new babies to know where and how to place them to sleep in the safest way possible,” Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator James Craig said. “Using the ABCs acronym is an easy way to remember the basics. Babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in an appropriate Crib, and in a tobacco/vape free home. Following these simple guidelines will help reduce the risk of SIDS-related deaths.”
Your baby should sleep alone, in a separate space, for every sleep (naps and at night). All babies should sleep on their backs, at least through the first 12 months. The sleep space could be a crib, Pack and Play, or bassinet. To prevent the risks of suffocation and death, the crib should have a firm mattress with a fitted sheet. There should be nothing else in the crib with your baby, such as blankets, stuffed animals, toys, bumper pads or pillows. Your baby could roll over and suffocate on these things.
Earlier this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new safety standard for products used as infant sleep spaces. This new mandatory standard will take effect mid-2022, substantially reducing potentially hazardous sleep products in the marketplace. Related products include inclined sleepers (which position babies at an angle greater than 10 degrees), baby boxes, infant sleep hammocks, handheld carriers, in-bed sleepers and baby loungers.
Infants exposed to smoking – while in the womb or after birth – have a higher risk of SIDS than infants who are not exposed. Pregnant women who smoke are advised to quit, and care should be taken to keep infants away from any smoke exposure after they are born. For more information on how to quit smoking, call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669).