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MDH: Majority Of Unexpected Infant Deaths Are Sleep Related

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It's one of every new parent's worst fears: Your baby goes to sleep and doesn't wake up.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUIDs), which includes SIDS, occur when a baby under one year of age dies unexpectedly.

New data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows 90 infants died unexpectedly in 2016 and 2017.  Of those deaths, 74 of them were from unsafe sleeping environments.

When you think of what's safe, remember the ABCs:

  • Babies should sleep and nap ALONE.
  • Be placed on their BACK.
  • And in a CRIB -- without blankets, pillows, or bumpers.

Even with known safe sleep practices, babies are still dying unexpectedly. Health officials say economic factors can play a role in unsafe sleep environments.  Oftentimes, family or friends with outdated sleep practices play a role.

"An infant who is used to sleeping on their back but goes to grandma's house and takes a nap on their tummy is much more likely to die during that nap because they're not used to it," Hennepin HealthCare pediatric nurse Jennette Flynn said.

What else can new parents do? Using a pacifier at bedtime, staying up to date on immunizations, breastfeeding, and not smoking all reduce the risk.

Even when baby won't sleep, keeping then in a safe environment could save a life.

Still, SUIDS are rare. Fifty-one babies died unexpectedly in 2018, out of the roughly 70,000 born in Minnesota.

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