Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs Supports the New Safe to Sleep Initiative
Contact: Anne Harvieux, LCSW
PHONE NUMBER 1-800-930-7437
The Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs (ASIP) supports the recently announced National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Safe to Sleep initiative which builds on the successes of the Back to Sleep Program and supports the 2011 recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which provided guidance to parents and others who care for infants to assist them in assuring a safe sleep environment. Placement of babies on their backs had a significant role in reducing the number of SIDS cases, but as the infant deaths were studied, a safe sleep environment was found to have a critical role in a baby’s survival and significant room for improvement was established. According to the Center for Disease Control, each year more than 4500 infants die suddenly of no immediately obvious cause. Half are deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the leading cause of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths.
The campaign encourages us to expand our focus on sleep related deaths due to causes in addition to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome such as suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, which have increased. The Safe to Sleep campaign does this by describing actions that parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation, based on the AAP Task Force’s 2011 recommendations.
The AAP Task Force recommendations stated that breastfeeding is recommended as it is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. Infants should be immunized as evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50%. Bumper pads should not be used in cribs as there is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment. ASIP encourages all providers of infant care, parents, grandparents, child care and health care providers to learn and to integrate safe sleep practices into their care of infants. ASIP supports the expansion of outreach to other causes of sudden unexpected infant deaths. Over time our understanding of the issue has broadened and our intervention strategies need to be revised to meet the need
Too many infant deaths involve unsafe sleep environments and locations. There has been an increase in sleep related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia. We need to re-energize safe sleep education efforts and do better in our safe sleep education efforts, especially with families disproportionately affected by SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.
“As a health care community, we need to do a better job translating the research ‘best practices’ into the day to day practice of caring for infants in both the home and hospital environment.” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP SIDS task force.
ASIP was a collaborator in the original Back to Sleep Campaign, we were a supporter of the 2011 recommendations and are collaborators in the current Safe to Sleep initiative. ASIP remains the only professional membership association dedicated exclusively to serving SUID and SIDS professionals. Since its inception in 1987, ASIP has provided leadership and support for state and local infant mortality programs, the professionals who staff them, and the families they serve.
To review the 2011 AAP Recommendations regarding Risk Reduction please go to:
For more information on the Safe to Sleep campaign please go to: