ADPH urges parents to learn about sudden death

Published 1:22 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health are urging parents and babysitters to learn the risk factors that lead to sudden deaths in infants.

October is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleep awareness month.

Nationally, more than 3,500 healthy babies die suddenly and unexpectedly.

The causes of these infant deaths are not immediately obvious following complete investigation.

Additionally, most victims are full-term normal birth weight infants, according to ADPH.

In 2013, 107 Alabama infants died from SIDS/ Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) and unsafe sleep-related causes.

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 1,500 infant deaths from SIDS, the leading cause of death for babies 1 month to 1 year of age.

Statistics show that 50 to 60 percent are from co-sleeping, unsafe sleeping or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

Statewide, ADPH’s State Perinatal Program is working to educate the public about ways to reduce the risks of SIDS/SUID and other unsafe sleep-related causes of infant death.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to work directly with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Eunice Kennedy Shriver Safe to Sleep campaign to develop Alabama’s Safe Sleep Outreach project over the next three years,” said Amy Stratton, state perinatal program director.

Among the projects the state plans to implement are SIDS Sunday church program and community grants to address unsafe sleep.

Work will also be conducted with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs to develop a Direct On Scene Education (DOSE) program.

The program will train first responders to conduct safety checks when answering emergent and non-emergent calls in households where a pregnant woman or infant resides.

If while conducting a safety check, an unsafe sleep environment is found, the first responder will provide a safe sleep kit for the family.

“Losing one infant from SIDS, SUID and unsafe sleep is one too many,” Stratton said. “We can all help reduce the risk by remembering three simple things: Alone, Back and Crib.”

These are called the ABCs:

• Alone: Always place baby in his or her own sleep space (room sharing without bed sharing);

• Back: Always place baby to sleep on his or her back (naptime and nighttime), not on side or stomach; and

• Crib: Always place baby to sleep in a crib with a firm surface, free of bumper pads, pillows, toys, heavy blankets or other people.