The number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) deaths in Mississippi has declined by more than half from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, the state reported 21 SIDS deaths, a rate of 0.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 43 deaths in 2011, a rate of 1.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant under age one that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation has been conducted. SIDS is the third leading cause of infant deaths in Mississippi.
“While this is definitely reason to celebrate, we need to remember that Mississippi continues to be above the national average in SIDS deaths and infant mortality,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. “In order to continue this decline in the deaths of our infants we must ensure that women are healthy before they are pregnant, have access to good prenatal care when they become pregnant, are educated on the risk of smoking around infants, and understand the importance of safe sleep practices.”
To reduce the risk of SIDS, caregivers should follow the ABCs of a safe sleep environment for an infant:
• Infants should be placed ALONE on their BACKS in an empty CRIB every time they sleep, at night and for naps. A separate but nearby sleeping place is recommended, such as a crib in the parents’ bedroom.
• Only a firm crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet, should be used in the infant’s crib. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: pillows, quilts, comforters, bumper pads, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft objects should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping area.
• Do not SMOKE while pregnant and never allow smoking around your infant.
MSDH offers support services for families, professionals and communities, including community outreach activities to educate families about SIDS, and counseling and referral services for families who have experienced a SIDS death. For more information on SIDS and ways to reduce the risk, call 601-576-7619 or visit www.HealthyMS.com/sids.