SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state is reminding parents and caregivers of young children of the risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, around 3,400 infants die each year in the United States from sleep-related causes with the majority of infant deaths from one month to 11 months of age.
In a press release, NMDOH states that in New Mexico there were 137 sleep-related infant deaths from 2015 to 2020 with an average of one every 23 days. The department explains that 86% of them were identified as being preventable.
Story continues below
- Crime: Suspect who cut power to brewery at large
- Trending: Fatal Thanksgiving morning crash under investigation
- New Mexico: NMSP responds to fatal semi-truck rollover on I-40
- Investigations: Middle of Nowhere: New Mexico’s Multi-Million Dollar Blunder
Health officials report that since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics initially provided guidance that infants be placed on their back to sleep, sleep-related deaths dropped by 45% Prior to 1992, NMDOH states that 11,000 babies a year died suddenly and without explanation in the U.S.
The department advises that it is not safe for babies to sleep on their stomachs or co-sleep in a bed instead of alone in a crib due to the increased risk of suffocation. NMDOH recommends parents and caregivers follow counsel from the AAP regarding Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths:
- To reduce risk of SUID and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome always place babies on their backs to sleep for naps and at night
- Use a flat and firm sleep surface such as a mattress in a safety aproved crib that’s covered with a fitted sheet
- Breast feed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS
- Share your room with the baby. Keep your baby in your room close to your bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for baby’s first year, but at least for the first six months
- Do not put soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under baby, over baby, or anywhere in baby’s sleep area
- Consider giving your baby a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS
- Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep
- Avoid products that go against safe sleep recommendations
- Do not use heart or breathing monitors
- Birthing mothers and parents should also follow these guidelines to reduce the risk:
- Get regular prenatal care during pregnancy
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and using marijuana or illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born
- Do not smoke during pregnancy and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby
- Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups
- Give your baby plenty of tummy time when they are awake and someone is watching
The Early Childhood Services Center at the University of New Mexico offers free safe sleep baby kits. For more information, visit newmexicokids.org or call 1-800-691-9067.