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DOH Leon Observes Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month

October 21, 2022

DOH Leon Observes Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month 

October 21, 2022

DOH Leon Observes Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month
A Safe Sleep Environment for Infants is as Easy as ABC

Tallahassee, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Health in Leon County (DOH Leon) joins its many public health partners in recognizing October as National Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUIDS) Awareness Month. SUID is the term to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby younger than one year of age where the cause is not obvious. These deaths happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area. DOH Leon reminds parents and caregivers that safe sleep is the best sleep for babies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies every year. These deaths include SIDS, accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes. Suffocation is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for infants under the age of one.

In Florida, the number of SUID increased from 192 in 2019 to 207 in 2020, while the rate remained the same at approximately one SUID for every 1,000 live births.

“Many parents and caregivers just aren't aware of what a safe sleep environment looks like, and the hope is to increase awareness with clear and practical steps,” said Brandi Knight, MPH, DOH Leon Health Administrator. 

Prioritizing a safe sleeping environment is a task that can be made as simple as A-B-C:

  • Alone – Do not put pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, toys, soft objects, or loose bedding in a baby’s sleeping area.
  • Back – Placing infants on their backs to sleep has drastically reduced infant fatalities from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). “Back to sleep” should always be followed unless under direction from the child’s pediatrician.
  • Crib – The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib or bassinet. Cribs should have a firm, flat mattress covered only by a fitted sheet. Sleeping on soft surfaces can increase the risk of SIDS.

There are more things you can do to protect your baby:

  • Quit tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs during pregnancy.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap and bedtime. If you are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is going well before offering a pacifier. This usually happens after one month of breastfeeding.
  • Don't allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
  • Keep your baby’s well-baby visits and immunizations up to date.
  • Talk to everyone who cares for your baby about following your safe sleep instructions.

Whether an infant is in the care of a parent, grandparent, or childcare provider, all caregivers should promote and follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep guidelines until children are at least one year of age to reduce the risk of sleep-related fatalities. For more information on safe sleep, visit the Florida Department of Children and Families.


About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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Media Contact:
Pamela Saulsby| Public Information Officer
Follow us on Twitter at @healthyleonfl






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