Every Week, A Baby In L.A. County Suffocates While Sleeping
LA County sees more sleep-related deaths than any other form of accidental child death. This is an alarming statistic, given that these deaths are often completely preventable. Accidental suffocation can happen in a matter of seconds and continues to be the greatest risk for children younger than 1 year. The Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) is nationally known for its multi-agency comprehensive review of child fatalities. Through this review in Los Angeles County, it has been determined that infant unsafe sleeping is the single leading cause of preventable child death in Los Angeles County. ICAN’s task force of safe sleep experts developed and launched the Los Angeles County Infant Safe Sleeping Campaign focused on identifying the families most in need of this message, created focus groups and public forums to present and test messages in multiple languages, and launched materials that instructed professionals and caregivers how to safely place a baby to sleep. Through this work, ICAN reports unprecedented decreases in the number and frequency of unsafe sleep related infant deaths.
Suffocation while bed-sharing and in unsafe sleeping environments, like a cluttered crib, continues to be the leading preventable cause of infant death in L.A. County.
In L.A. County, there are more sleep-related deaths than all other accidental child deaths. These deaths are completely preventable.
Accidental suffocation is the greatest risk for babies under age 1. These deaths are silent and quick. It just takes seconds for a baby to suffocate.
Babies are small, without voices and have no strength. For the first 3-4 months, they can only breathe through their nose. A baby’s nose–unlike an adult’s–doesn’t have cartilage, so it can flatten easily and block airflow, causing suffocation
Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of infant death from suffocation by being aware of and following these safe sleeping practices.
Questions You May Have
Is it safe to put a baby to sleep in a car seat or stroller?
No, because of the way the baby is positioned in these carriers. Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep.
Can I swaddle my baby?
Yes, but be sure to use a light receiving blanket because other blankets, such as San Marcos blankets, can be too heavy and warm for infants. Once babies reach 5-6 months, swaddling is no longer needed and parents can simply continue to dress their baby in a onesie or sleeper.
What if I am breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is encouraged, and moms should place their baby in a crib or bassinet after nursing.
What if my baby likes sleeping on his stomach?
The safest way for babies to sleep is on their back. When babies sleep on their stomach or side, they can choke or suffocate.
My baby has trouble breathing – what’s the best way to put my baby to sleep?
If your baby has a medical condition, talk to your doctor about any special care your child may need.