Safe Sleep Statistics

Alone. Apart. Always.
Safe Sleep 365

Every year, an estimated 3,700 infants die in the United States due to sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC accounts the the largest proportion of SUIDs for racial/ethnic groups to Asian/Pacific Islander infants (52%) and non-Hispanic black infants (44%).

In a 2014 report published by the Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team, the following factors were determined based on a comprehensive review of 119 unexpected, sleep-related child fatalities in 2009:

  • 95% of the sleep-related fatalities were preventable
  • 90% were related to an unsafe sleep environment
  • 3 out of 4 infants who died were four months of old or younger
  • More than 50% were placed on their stomachs
  • More than 70% were exposed to second hand smoke
  • 73% of infants were sleeping on a surface not intended for infant sleep at the time of their death
  • 57% of the cases were related to co-sleeping. Of these cases, 26% included a co-sleeper impaired by drugs or alcohol

Further, the sleep-related fatality rate for infants in Virginia’s western region was 219.9 per 100,000 and 111.2 per 100,000 in the eastern region, indicating that infants in these regions were at greatest risk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports nearly 1 in 5 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent or usual caregiver. As a community, we all have a role to play in keeping Virginia’s children safe. It is vital that everyone caring for a baby, including grandparents, foster parents, siblings, and babysitters, are aware and follow safe sleep practices to protect a baby from suffocation, SIDS and other sleep-related infant fatalities.