American Indian/Alaska Native babies are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white babies to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), sometimes called “Crib Death.”
The following factors can increase the risk of SIDS death:
- Overheating during sleep
- Maternal alcohol use (during pregnancy and after the birth of the infant)
- Commercial tobacco use (during pregnancy and in the baby’s living environment)
Bed sharing (especially when the adult has used alcohol or drugs or is tired)
- Stomach sleeping during naps and at night
- Soft sleeping surfaces and loose, fluffy bedding
While SIDS deaths cannot be totally prevented, the risk of SIDS can be reduced by practicing safe sleep behaviors:
- Place baby on their back to sleep every time
- Place baby on a firm sleep surface
- No blankets, loose bedding, loose clothing, or stuffed animals in the bed with baby
- Do not let baby sleep in the car seat
- Baby sleeps in the same room, but not in the same bed with others.
- Baby sleeps in a smoke free environment
Public Health Nurse (PHN) Visits: Results from the Aberdeen Area Infant Mortality Study, which involved AI/ANs from the Great Plains, found that infants were less likely to die of SIDS if their mothers received visits from a PHN during pregnancy and after giving birth. A visit from a PHN reduced SIDS risk by one-fifth compared to babies who did not receive such attention. In light of these results, study leaders recommended “strengthening PHN programs” and community-based programs, such as Healthy Start, to provide the extra attention that AI/AN communities need to further reduce the risk for SIDS. Contact your local Healthy Start office today to learn more about preventing infant death and practicing safe sleep in your home.
Great Plains Healthy Start is a Cribs for Kids partner and affiliate. Each year we provide a limited number of Pack N Play portable play yards to families who need a safe place to sleep and complete our Safe Sleep Education program. (Subject to funding availability) Contact your local Healthy Start office today for more information.