Accidental Infant Suffocation Deaths

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WASHINGTON (RushPRnews) 02/12/09-From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat. Researchers say the number of infant deaths from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed has increased fourfold between 1984 and 2004.

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Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bases that on U.S. death certificate data. Shapiro-Mendoza thinks some of the increase might be due to certifiers moving away from SIDS and towards reporting suffocation as a diagnosis. But the reasons are unclear.

Shapiro-Mendoza advises:

[Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza speaks] “The safest sleep environment is close to his parents or caregivers but on a separate sleep surface. Infants should always be placed to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress. And the sleep surface should be free of pillows, quilts, comforters and any stuffed animals.’’

The study is in the journal Pediatrics.

Learn more at HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February, 12 20

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