Media Availability: Federal agencies ask for help communicating infant death risks


In recognition of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, the federal agencies focused on infant health and safety, ask all organizations who reach families and health care providers through media, print, and education to show infants sleeping alone, on their backs, and in a clutter-free crib, bassinet, or play yard. Each year about 4,000 infants die unexpectedly during sleep time, from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, or unknown causes. Fortunately, much has been learned about how to reduce the chances that these sleep-related infant deaths will occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement External Web Site Policy provides recommendations on safe sleep for infants up to age one. These recommendations include:

  • Always place infants on their back to sleep for every sleep
  • Use a firm sleep surface, with a fitted sheet
  • Room sharing without bed sharing
  • Keep soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding out of the crib

Communicating these proven ways to create a safe infant sleep environment to parents, caregivers, families, and health care providers is critical for reducing the toll of these sleep-related infant deaths on our society.


Co-chairs of the Federal Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Workgroup:

Shavon Artis, Dr.P.H., MPH, Coordinator, Safe to Sleep Campaign, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Elizabeth Edgerton, M.D., MPH, Branch Chief, Emergency Medical Services for Children Program and Injury Prevention, Maternal and Child Health Bureau Health Resources and Services Administration


Member agencies of the Federal SUID/SIDS Workgroup:

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

To foster health and well-being by providing federal leadership, partnership and resources for the compassionate and effective delivery of human services. Within early childhood, we strive to build successful Early Learning and Development Systems across Head Start, child care, and pre-K; promote high quality and accountable early learning and development programs for all children; improve the health and safety of early learning and development programs; ensure an effective early childhood workforce; and promote family support and engagement in the child's development.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC's Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) works to promote optimal and equitable health in women and infants through public health surveillance, research, leadership, and partnership to move science to practice. DRH aims to improve the investigation and monitoring of SIDS and other sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) and identify opportunities for prevention and reduction in racial and ethnic disparities. DRH also work closely with CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (the Injury Center). The Injury Center functions as the focal point for the public health approach to preventing unintentional injuries and violence and their consequences, by moving from science into action. This effort includes reducing infant suffocation, a preventable contributor to SUID.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public against unreasonable risks of injury from consumer products through education, safety standards activities, regulation, and enforcement. Since 2009, CPSC has operated a special Safe Sleep campaign that is a multi-pronged consumer outreach and industry compliance effort aimed at reducing deaths and injuries associated with unsafe sleep products and sleep environments.

Department of Defense (DoD) Family Advocacy Program, Office of Family Policy Children/Youth

To prevent child abuse and neglect and domestic abuse by targeting risks and promoting healthy attitudes and behaviors to make a positive difference in the lives of military members and their families and increase the well-being of the force.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)

The CDRH is responsible for protecting and promoting the public health. We assure that patients and providers have timely and continued access to safe, effective, and high-quality medical devices and safe radiation-emitting products. We provide consumers, patients, their caregivers, and providers with understandable and accessible science-based information about the products we oversee. We facilitate medical device innovation by advancing regulatory science, providing industry with predictable, consistent, transparent, and efficient regulatory pathways, and assuring consumer confidence in devices marketed in the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health

Created in 1986, the Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health status of racial and ethnic minority populations - including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders - through the development of policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

To improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs.

Indian Health Services (IHS)

To raise the health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native people to the highest possible level. To carry out this mission, the IHS provides comprehensive primary health care and disease prevention services.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health

To ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, and to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of all people through optimal rehabilitation.

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