Unsafe sleep practices cause most infant deaths: CDC


Unsafe sleep practices are the leading cause of infant deaths, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that 82 percent of accidental infant suffocation deaths — the mortality leader for the group — occurred in bed, mostly due to sleeping in an adult bed or on their stomach or side.

"Unintentional injury deaths, such as those categorized as suffocation in our study, can be prevented by following infant safe sleep practices," the researchers wrote. "The safest place for infants to sleep is on their backs, on an unshared sleep surface, in a crib or bassinet in the caregivers' room, and without soft bedding (eg. blankets, pillows and other soft objects) in their sleep area." 

Most of the suffocation cases found the babies asleep on their stomach or side with soft bedding blocking their airways. There was a median age of 3 months in the cases examined.

The study found that accidental suffocation and strangulation rates have increased since 1999 from around one in every 17,000 live births to nearly one in every 4,348 in 2015.