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For about 10 years, from 1983-1992, the average number of SIDS deaths reported annually ranged from 5,000 to 6,000. Beginning in 1992, this number began to change. In the past few years, especially in the mid 1990's, the number of SIDS deaths has declined significantly resulting form the message of the Back To Sleep campaign. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported, in 1997, in the United States, 2,991 infants under 1 year of age died from SIDS; down from 3,050 in 1996. Preliminary figures show that, in 1998, 2,529 infants died from SIDS. (NCHS, Telephone interview, July 2000.) The rate for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome dropped by an estimated 20.9 percent from 1999. Four hundred and ninety-seven fewer infant death occurred in 2000 due to SIDS. Based upon the preliminary 2000 data, 2,151 babies died of SIDS, at a rate of .529 per 1,000 live births.
Significant Decline In SIDS Deaths?
According to most professionals, the significant decline in SIDS deaths starting in the mid-1990's can be attributed to results achieved from health messages promoted in the public health campaign known as the "BACK TO SLEEP CAMPAIGN" (BTS). In April 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Task Force on Infant Sleep Position (AAP), issued a statement recommending infants be placed on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS. In 1994, in response to the 1992 AAP announcement, a national campaign was initiated.
This campaign was a joint effort of the U.S. Public Health Service (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau), the AAP, the SIDS Alliance, and the Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs. Public service announcements from both government and private sectors were circulated. Largely as a result of public awareness raised by BTS Campaign messages, the number of SIDS deaths declined by more than 40% between 1992 and 1997. (Pediatrics, March, 2000, p.650)
The BTS Campaign expanded to become a nationwide public health effort. Major responsibility for disseminating information and educational materials on this crucial health topic was assigned to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
NICHD adopted the following recommendations to implement this nationwide effort to increase awareness of the critical importance of infant sleep position as a risk factor for SIDS:
The Safe to Sleep® campaign, formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign, has helped educate millions of caregivers—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, child care providers, health care providers, and others—about ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
Recent SIDS research Publications
- 2015 Does Providing Infant Caregivers with a Wearable Blanket Increase Safe Sleep Practices? A Randomized Controlled Trial
- 2014 To Improve Safe-Sleep Practices, More Emphasis Should Be Placed on Removing Unsafe Items From the Crib
- 2014 Evaluation of Community Baby Showers to Promote Safe Sleep (PDF)
- 2014 Sleep Environment Risks for Younger and Older Infants
- 2013 Improving Safe Sleep Environments for Well Newborns in the Hospital Setting