From an interview with
Dr. Douglas Moeckel
Pediatrix Neonatology of Florence at McLeod Regional Medical Center
Every year, around 3,500 babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly while they’re sleeping. Most of these tragic deaths are due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental deaths from suffocation or strangulation.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the rate of sleep-related infant death declined significantly in the 1990s after the AAP and others recommended that babies be placed on their backs to sleep. However, rates have since plateaued, and SIDS remains the leading cause of postneonatal mortality. Black and Native American/Alaska Native infants die at rates more than double that of white babies. McLeod Neonatologist Dr. Douglas Moeckel explains that all families should implement the following recommendations that reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death.
“As parents, we protect our children from danger as much as possible. Do we consider the dangers of an unsafe sleep environment? Protecting our babies when they are sleeping is as simple as A-B-C.
“A” is for Alone. Babies should always be alone when they sleep. The use of pillows, bumper pads or blankets is not safe, and a baby should never be in a bed with another person.
“B” is for Back. Place babies on their back when sleeping. When placed on their backs to sleep, they are able to keep their airways open so they can breathe safely.
“C” is for Crib. Always place babies flat in a crib or safe sleep environment every time they sleep, during the day or night.”
Dr. Moeckel encourages all parents to share these ABC’s with everyone who cares for their infant children.
To learn more, speak with a neonatologist near you.