According to preliminary data from Maryland’s medical examiner’s office, there were seven suspected cases of sleep-related reported in Baltimore in 2016. Comparing these numbers to the six suspected cases reported in the first three months of 2017, there is reason for concern.
Baltimore City health officials responded by saying the deaths were contributed to the infants’ sleeping environment. The most common cause of sleep-related infant deaths is asphyxia or suffocation, followed by undetermined causes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a sudden death of a baby under the age of one.
Parents are urged to create a safe sleep environment for their infant, by removing all items from the crib, including bed linen, crib bumpers and stuffed animals
Infants between the ages of 2 and 4 months are at the highest risk, along with Native American and African-American infants. Published studies have revealed that utilizing pacifiers will reduce the risks of SIDS by 90 percent. Although, it is unknown how the pacifier protects against SIDS.
Since the launch of the B’More for Healthy Babies campaign, to decrease infant mortality rates in Baltimore City through education and policy change, sleep-related deaths had been on the decline.
According to Baltimore’s health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, 27 sleep-related deaths were reported in 2009. Wen held a press conference to call attention to the recent spike in sleep-related deaths on Wednesday.