About 3,500 Babies in the US are Lost to Sleep-related Deaths Each Year

Washington, D.C.–There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes.

In the 1990s, there were sharp declines in sleep-related deaths following the national “Back to Sleep” safe sleep campaign. However, the declines have slowed since the late 1990s – and data from a new Vital Signs report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the risk for babies persists.

Every year there are thousands of sleep related deaths among babies (image credit: CDC)

“Unfortunately, too many babies in this country are lost to sleep-related deaths that might be prevented,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “We must do more to ensure every family knows the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations – babies should sleep on their backs, without any toys or soft bedding, and in their own  crib. Parents are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but not the same bed. These strategies will help reduce the risk and protect our babies from harm.”

Safe sleep practices recommended by the AAP include:

  • Placing the baby on his or her back at all sleep times – including naps and at night.
  • Using a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved mattress and crib.
  • Keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of the baby’s sleep area.
  • Sharing a room with baby, but not the same bed.