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Child Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Safe Sleep Behaviors

Narrative

Safe sleep behaviors are practices that reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related suffocation. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, sometimes called Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID), accounted for 15 percent of all infant deaths in 2010. Find more information on SIDS/SUID.

To reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants be placed on their backs (known as supine position) by their caregiver for every sleep until 1 year of age.1 In 2009-2010, 70.5 percent of recent mothers reported that their infant was laid down to sleep on his or her back most of the time. The proportion of mothers reporting this safe sleep behavior was highest among non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, and non-Hispanic Asian mothers (76.4, 77.0, and 76.5 percent, respectively) and was lowest among non-Hispanic Black mothers (52.3 percent).

It is also recommended that infants sleep on a firm sleep surface, without loose bedding, in the same room but not the same bed or sleep surface as parents or other persons.2 Bed-sharing can increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation. The proportion of mothers reporting that they never practiced bed-sharing was highest among non-Hispanic White mothers (44.9 percent) and lowest among non-Hispanic Black and Asian mothers (19.1 and 19.9 percent, respectively). Conversely, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander mothers were the most likely to report that they always or often shared a bed with their infant (37.6, 41.4, and 39.2 percent, respectively), while non-Hispanic White women were least likely to do so (16.5 percent).

Resources to educate caregivers regarding ways to reduce the risk for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death are provided by the Safe to Sleep® campaign (previously known as the Back to Sleep campaign).3 This collaborative effort was renamed and expanded in 2012 to reflect the AAP’s broader recommendations and to address all sleep-related infant deaths.

1 American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and other sleep-related deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a safe infant sleep environment. Pediatrics. 2011 November; 128(5): 1030-1039.

2 American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and other sleep-related deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a safe infant sleep environment. Pediatrics. 2011 November; 128(5): 1030-1039.

2 National Institutes of Health. Safe Sleep for all Babies. October 2011. Accessed: 07/11/2013.

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Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

Infants Were Usually Placed on Their Backs to Sleep graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Bed-Sharing graph

Data

Women with a Recent Live Birth Who Reported That Their Infants Were Usually Placed on Their Backs to Sleep, by Maternal Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2010**

Percent of Women with a Recent Live Birth:

  • Non-Hispanic White 76.4
  • Non-Hispanic Black 52.3
  • Hispanic 65.1
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 77.0
  • Non-Hispanic Asian 76.5
  • Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander 69.5
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 70.5
  • Total 70.5

*Includes data from a total of 30 states and New York City; 25 states contributed both years; mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Bed-Sharing Among Recent Mothers, by Maternal Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2010*
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Recent Mothers
Always/Often
Percent of Recent Mothers
Sometimes/Rarely
Percent of Recent Mothers
Never
*Includes data from 16 states; 13 states contributed both years. Mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Non-Hispanic White 16.5 38.6 44.9
Non-Hispanic Black 37.6 43.4 19.1
Hispanic 32.5 38.9 28.6
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 28.2 45.7 26.1
Non-Hispanic Asian 41.4 38.7 19.9
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 39.2 37.3 23.5
Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 25.3 41.4 33.3
Total 24.9 39.4 39.4