In Kentucky, an infant is 70 times more likely to die from unsafe sleep than from a motor vehicle collision. Every five days, an infant in Kentucky dies with a sleep-related risk factor.
“Sleep-related deaths go completely undetected by the general public . . . Even as a pediatrician, I had no idea we were losing this many children: one per month — and that’s just in one county. Kentucky has 120 counties . . . to a completely preventable cause of death.”
– Dr. Melissa L. Currie, MD
Unsafe sleep practices are anything in the caretaker’s control that increase an infant’s risk of sleep-related death. The most common sleep-related risk factor is babies being placed on sleep surfaces that are not designed for infant sleep:
- adult beds
Over half of the sleep-related deaths in 2013 in Kentucky had bed-sharing documented. Placing an infant in your bed to sleep is very dangerous and can even be deadly.
Putting a baby on their side or stomach for sleep puts them at a higher risk for SIDS. In fact, sleep-related deaths have declined nationwide as more parents have put their babies to sleep on their backs.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with some of these most common unsafe sleep practices and avoid them when taking care of an infant:
- Caring for an infant while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Putting an infant to sleep in any position other than on their back
- Allowing an infant to sleep with items in their crib such as blankets, bumper pads, pillows, etc.
- Leaving an infant in somebody else’s care without informing them of safe sleep practices
- Allowing an infant to sleep anywhere other than in a clean, clear crib