Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is a major cause of death for infants one month to one-year-old. It affects infants of all populations, yet African American families are affected at a greater rate. Since the inception of the national Back to Sleep public health education campaign in 1994 to promote back sleeping for babies, the SIDS rate has dropped dramatically. However, despite the overall success of the campaign, the SIDS rate for African American babies is still two times greater than that of white babies.
To address this disparity, the Baby 1st Network is in the process of developing a tool kit for reducing the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). This kit will be part of the strategy for promoting infant safe sleep with the intent of involving communities through training and education. The kit’s information will emphasize the fact that the responsibility for safeguarding the health and well-being of infants rests not only on parents but also on family members, loved ones, and all those who care for infants. Indeed, promoting back sleeping and other safe practices is a community responsibility.
Although the Community Resource Toolkit is in the development stages and not available yet, you still have the ability to play an important role in educating African Americans about SIDS and other sleep related causes of death, dispelling the myths, and reducing the number of infants who die each year.
By promoting these three key messages you can begin to make a difference in the lives of so many families:
- Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at nighttime.
- Use a firm surface with fitted sheet, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or play yard, with no soft bedding or toys.
- Room share - keeping baby's sleep area separate from yours but in the same room where you sleep - do not bed share.