Sudden Infant Death Syndrome still one of top causes of baby death in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, and SIDS remains a leading cause of baby death in Oklahoma.

SIDS is the third leading cause of infant death in Oklahoma, despite major improvements in reducing infant deaths in the state over recent years, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

“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,” OSDH officials said.

Congenital malformations and disorders related to short gestation and low birth rate are the top two causes of infant death in the state.

Oklahoma had 36 infant deaths caused by SIDS in 2019. There were 1,250 SIDS deaths across the nation that year.

A crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep, but Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data shows approximately 30 percent of Oklahoma babies were sleeping in adult beds from 2016 to 2019.

“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.”

Bassinets with mesh sides not only allow you to keep tabs on your baby while they nap but also promote air circulation, making for a safer sleeping space all around.

OSDH advises the following for how a baby should sleep in every sleep session, including naps and at night:

  • Alone;
  • In a separate space;
  • On their back, at least through the first 12 months;
  • In a crib, Pack and Play or bassinet.

The crib should have a firm mattress with a fitted sheet to prevent the risk of the baby suffocating and dying.

“There should be nothing else in the crib with your baby, such as blankets, stuffed animals, toys, bumper pads or pillows,” OSDH officials said. “Your baby could roll over and suffocate on these things.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new safety standard earlier this year for products used as infant sleep spaces. The standard is mandatory and will go into effect mid-2022, substantially reducing potentially hazardous sleep products in the marketplace, according to OSDH. 

Related products include the following:

  • Inclined sleepers (which position babies at an angle greater than 10 degrees)
  • Baby boxes
  • Infant sleep hammocks
  • Handheld carriers
  • In-bed sleepers
  • Baby loungers

Go to www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/2021/CPSC-Approves-Major-New-Federal-Safety-Standard-for-Infant-Sleep-Products to read the new safety standard.

OSDH officials warn that infants exposed to smoking, either in the womb or after birth, are at greater risk of SIDS than infants not exposed to smoking.

“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),” OSDH officials said. 

Visit www.health.ok.gov, using the keywords “safe sleep”, for more information.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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