Jul 9, 2010 12:37 PM by Melissa Canone

Statewide Rate Of Infant Deaths

BATON ROUGE - Accidental suffocation is the leading cause of all injury-related deaths of infants 1
month to 12 months of age in Louisiana, and the Department of Health and Hospitals is educating
parents and caregivers on the best ways to keep babies safe.
According to the latest figures, 53 percent of injury-related deaths among those ages are caused by
suffocation. The statewide suffocation rate (0.35 deaths per 1000 live births) was more than double that
of the national rate (0.16 deaths per 1000 live births).
Most of these suffocations occur because of unsafe sleeping environments. A new campaign - "Give
Your Baby Space" - from DHH's Maternal and Child Health Program encourages parents and
caregivers to take proper precautions to keep babies safe while sleeping.
"Infant deaths related to unsafe sleeping environments are preventable," says Dr. Gina Lagarde, DHH's
Child Health Medical Director, "Our goal is to help parents recognize and understand that small simple
steps can be taken to reduce infant sleep related deaths. This means caregivers need to understand
that a baby should sleep alone and in a crib at all times."
Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of suffocation by following the safety tips below:
• Place your baby to sleep on his or her back alone in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or cradle
on a firm mattress. Do not place your baby to sleep on an adult bed, day bed/ twin bed,
waterbed, couch, air mattress, futon, or on other soft surfaces due to risk of suffocation
• Do not place pillows, wedges, positioners, or pillow-like toys in cribs because a baby's
movement may cause items to shift and impair a baby's ability to breath
• Do not have any loose cords around sleeping environment or on sleep clothing due to risk of
strangulation resulting in suffocation
• Do not place any loose bedding, comforters, or quilts in crib as these items can impair a baby's
ability to breathe if they cover the face. Use a light blanket if needed, tuck all sides along bottom
half of crib, below baby's arms
The Maternal Child Health Program within the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals works to assure that
pregnant women, women of childbearing age, infants, children, and youth in Louisiana have access to high quality
primary and preventive health care services. MCH supports, the Louisiana SIDS Risk Reduction and Safe Sleep
Program and Partners for Healthy Babies.


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