May 28, 2015

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SIDS and Sleep-Related Infant Deaths in Kentucky

In Kentucky, the infant mortality rate is higher than the national average. Every five days a baby dies with a sleep-related risk factor in Kentucky. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the sudden death of an infant less than one-year old that cannot be explained after a full investigation. SIDS cannot always be avoided, but there are ways to lower the chances of SIDS by following Safe Sleep practices.

In 2013, 9 out of 10 sudden unexpected infant deaths included at least one sleep-related risk factor. In Kentucky, an infant is 70 times more likely to die from unsafe sleep than from a motor vehicle collision. The most common sleep-related risk factors were babies placed on unsafe sleep surfaces like couches, recliners, or an adult bed, and over half of the sleep-related deaths in 2013 in Kentucky had bed-sharing documented.

In order to reduce the risk of any infant dying due to unsafe sleep, the ABCs of Safe Sleep should be practiced every time a baby sleeps. A, B, C, and D stand for the following:

  1. A is for Alone  |  Stay close, sleep apart.
  2. B is for Back  |  On my back for night and naps.
  3. C is for Crib  |  In a Clean, Clear, Crib.
  4. D is for Danger  |  Be aware, not impaired. Drinking and drug use impair your ability to care for a baby, making bed-sharing and other unsafe sleep even more dangerous for the baby.

The Safe Sleep Kentucky Campaign

In October 2015, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) launched the Safe Sleep Campaign. It is a statewide effort to raise awareness of the importance of Safe Sleep for babies and lower the number of SIDS-related deaths in Kentucky.

The purpose of the Safe Sleep Kentucky campaign is to prevent infant deaths by educating the public in ABCD, the four letters associated with the best practices to make sure infants sleep safely. The campaign aims to help inform new and experienced parents, grandparents, and caregivers on the importance of Safe Sleep for babies.

The campaign also hopes to promote Safe Sleep through medical experts and professionals within the healthcare community so they and parents alike become familiar with, practice, and actively promote these simple steps to save babies lives.


Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is home to most of the state’s human services and health care programs. This includes Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government. It has nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the state focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.