(KMSP) - Unsafe sleeping environments have accounted for nearly all unexpected infant deaths in Minnesota in recent years, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
A new analysis of state data found 10 times more infants died while sleeping than in car crashes. In 2014, all 53 unexpected infant deaths, deaths from causes that are not immediately obvious, in Minnesota occurred while the infants were asleep in unsafe sleep environments.
Sixty-three percent of the babies were sleeping on a bed, sofa, recliner or similar surface with another person when they died, 46 percent were in an unsafe sleeping position, such as being placed on their side or tummy and 85 percent had loose objects around them, like pillows or blankets, or were not placed on a firm surface to sleep.
MDH says babies should always sleep without blankets or pillows to reduce the risk of suffocation. Parents should instead dress babies in pajamas or other clothes that will keep them warm when they sleep. Babies should also sleep separately from other children and adults, preferably in a crib or similar sleeping surface.
To emphasize the importance of the knowing the basics of safe sleep for babies, Gov. Mark Dayton dubbed the week of Oct. 23-29 as Infant Safe Sleep Week in Minnesota.
ABCs of Safe Sleep (from MDH and DHS)
ALONE: Infants should always sleep or nap alone
BACK: Always put a baby on their back to sleep or nap
CRIB: Babies should always sleep or nap in their own safety-approved crib or play yard.